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Why Mastery  
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The Mastery Process
Before the Industrial Revolution and mass education, individuals learned their trade, craft or profession through a natural mentoring process. Usually, skilled people spotted potential talent in those around them and gradually initiated him/her into the process of learning. At that time, there was a close link between learning and practice. Bakers baked. Shoe makers designed and made shoes. Metal workers designed and crafted tools and utensils. Their very survival depended on their ability to meet the standards of their users and earn a livelihood.

Historically, we progress through four levels of learning:

  • Beginner or apprentice in the profession/trade – learning and practicing some of the basic practices in the field – new in the profession (0-3 years); needing coaching and mentoring and hours of practicing the basics;
  • Individual contributor – able to execute a number of practices with minimal supervision; 4-7 years in the field; needs on-going mentoring to move to the next level of mastery, broadening skills in each practice area;
  • Mentor/Coach – so skilled in the profession or trade that others come to the person naturally and spontaneously for feedback and coaching; 8-10 years in the field; unconsciously competent in basic practices;
  • Master/Leader – skilled in all the fundamental practice areas in the profession; known throughout the profession for skill and expertise; 10-17 years in the field; seen as a leader and innovator in the profession by others.

People at the master level have learned discipline, work in an area of passion and interest, hang out with others in their profession, and contribute to the growing body of knowledge and practice in the field. The interesting observation is that individuals who have reached the level of master in one area can quickly pick up another profession or trade – for they’ve learned to learn. DaVinci is the consummate example of this.

We are unconsciously participating in the mastery process every day. We buy a new car and learn we have many new “bells and whistles” – beginner; we then learn to maximize our use of most enhancements with the help of the owner’s manual or trial and error - individual contributor; we teach others how to use the Blue Tooth, the GPS, DVD, etc - coach

The more aspects of life we master, the more expert learners we become. Learning and mastery create more neuronal connections in the brain, therefore our ability to deal with complexity and speed is enhanced. People who have mastered any area of life are not only more competent but more confident. They’ve learned to learn and can be effective and peaceful in a quickly changing world.
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Two Types of Mastery
Much of today’s current literature distinguishes between professional and personal mastery. Our Web of Work model shows the interconnection between personal and professional mastery.

Personal Mastery
As you can see in the diagram, twelve basic needs drive the formation of civilization. Personal mastery involves learning how to care for each of these needs in our adult lives. They include:
  • Family
  • Home and Shelter
  • Social Relationships
  • Work/Career
  • Learning
  • Economic Security
  • Leisure
  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Environment & Safety
  • Community
  • Spirituality
  • Health and Well Being more...


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