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  • Writer's pictureLinda Milun

What is Personal Mastery & how does it impact the quality of your life?

There are many ideas, misconceptions and approaches concerning personal mastery out there! Many people think that it is all about perfectionism, that everything has to be done perfectly. Others have the idea, that it causes a lot of pressure and that it is simply too much work. Today you will discover the truth about personal mastery and see what a game changer it is!

You learn to understand and lead yourself. You start with the questions: - You can kind of sum with: Who am I? Who do I want to be? Where am I from? Where am I going? How do I get there? What do I need to achieve it? Through that, you will deal with your present, your inside, your future and the corresponding path. While the essence remains essentially the same or similar, Personal Mastery is not a static construct or formula that you simply work through. As you live and evolve, so will your Personal Mastery.

A quote from Jim Ron provokes us to change our perspective on it: "We must all suffer from one of two pains, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret, the difference is discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons." It kind of sums it up! Yes, you will need some discipline and, of course, you will need to put some effort when you choose the path of personal mastery. However, the outcome is much bigger and will make the effort appear small.

If it's not perfectionistic, then what is it? Let’s have a look:

A major factor of personal mastery is self-awareness. That means understanding your personal purpose and vision: Who are you? Who do you want to be? What are the vision and the purpose of your life?

Another aspect is understanding your history and using your history as an advantage instead of a disadvantage and keeping it as something that holds you back. In Personal Mastery, you will look at it, you will work through it, you will work for healing, but you will not dwell for the rest of your life with a negative mindset upon it.

Carol Dweck said, "When people already know they are deficient, they have nothing to lose by trying." In Personal Mastery, the self-awareness of your flaws and mistakes, disadvantages or deficits is not considered something negative in the first place, but rather a chance and opportunity to heal the pain of the past and the present and to improve what needs to be improved.

That’s why the next step in Personal Mastery is to ask yourself: “What can I do to improve what needs improvement and increase what is already great?". Instead of thinking, "If I fail, it's all wasted", you choose the growth mindset: "if I put this effort in now, I have the chance to overcome and to do better!". Doing that is taking ownership of your life - which is self-leadership. It is the art of creating your future while being fully present. In self-leadership, you translate your intentions into actions! You set goals! To excel in that, it makes sense to look into different life domains: e.g. family, relationships, spirituality, mental and emotional health, community, physical health, finances, and vocation.

The main question you ask yourself while reflecting on the domains, is: “Where am I at right now?" To answer this question, you could use “The Wheel Of Life”. You rate each domain from 1 to 10: How content am I? (Usually, one would be the lowest.). After that, you mark or note down what “number” you want to achieve in each domain.

To draw a clearer picture: a client is not content with a work situation and rates it maybe at 4. After some reflection and working through, the client says, "I would like it to be an eight, by the end of this year". In coaching we would then talk about: "What needs to happen to reach this new goal?" Accordingly, goals will be set and an action plan created! There are many techniques to set goals effectively so that according to your needs realistic and measurable actions are planned out.

Interestingly, increased self-leadership leads to better leadership performance. The more you are aware of yourself as a person, the more you will be able to lead and understand other people. It will enhance your capability to take responsibility for the people you are in charge of and to help them live and work effectively. Improved self-awareness, self-leadership, interpersonal effectiveness, etc. will produce authentic leadership. The conclusion is, that those who pursue personal mastery will be more effective and impactful in authentic leadership in the end.

Furthermore, you will improve your mental health, because you will uncover limiting beliefs and fixed mindsets, learn to live with a growth mindset, implement healthy boundaries and learn to overcome limitations.

All this and so much more will increase the quality of your life, you will be able to see the world as a place of potential, opportunities, chances, hopes, dreams and determination. That being said, I'm not talking about a lack of realism, or living in the clouds, I'm talking about: instead of seeing everything just as a threat, or danger, understanding that all that is a chance for you and an opportunity: to work on your life, to set goals well, and so on. It also helps you to implement a good work-life balance.

What do you want your life to look like in let's say, five years? And if you know "I want to work a regular job and have enough free time for myself or my family", then what do you need to do now to achieve that goal? At the same time, some people say, "I don't want to work a regular job, I want to be self-employed, start my own business, and be my own boss". You will ask yourself the same: what do you need to do now to achieve that in so and so many years. It's not about living in the future, and always living for the future. On the contrary, it brings awareness to what you have, need and desire – now and in the future.

Let’s say, you know exactly what you want to achieve, but somehow you still don't get started. It’s important to ask yourself: “What is holding me back?”. It's very important to look at your situation right now and set realistic, achievable goals. You say, "I want to self-employ, but I will not be able to do it within this year." That's fine, but what can you do NOW to maybe do it in three years? Prepare your path in such a way that in three years, you have your own business and it's running well. It is a matter of how you position yourself in the right, prepare yourself and take active steps. It's about envisioning your future and walking towards that while being able to enjoy and live in the here and now. It depends again, on your core values: For some people, the family is very important. And they will say, "Okay, I want to achieve that goal. But I don't want to lose the connection to my family." Therefore, you need to adjust the goals.

Another important aspect of how Personal Mastery will impact you is that you will learn to not live your life anymore for other people - if you have been doing it so far. In other words: no people pleasing in order to be accepted. By that, I mean, a lot of people in many cultures experience that parents or society expect you to do certain things a certain way. e.g By age 30, you should probably have bought a house or you're building a house. Or you have to become an architect, engineer, or doctor. The society or culture you live in, kind of dictates who you have to be to be respected and accepted. BUT what others expect of you does not always make you happy. In Personal Mastery you focus more on who you want to be, how you want to be and what is your personal purpose. That does not necessarily go according to the standard of the rest of the people around you and to make peace with that!

Of course, then there's this big question: "Okay, I understand there is so much that speaks for personal mastery. It helps me to create my future in the here and now by being fully present. It helps me to live my life healthier and happier. But how do I do that?"

Read "What can you practically do to grow in Personal Mastery?" to find out!

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