Mastery is sensing that we are skilled at some things and can improve and possibly become proficient if we work at it. It is the belief that if we try, we’ll get it. If we practice the guitar, we’ll learn to play Stairway to Heaven. If we practice Spanish, we’ll learn those irregular verbs. Like power/control, a strong sense of mastery is encouraging. It propels us to expand and move forward in life. To practice and grow. To feel like we’re personally evolving. It’s a small dose of the Midas touch–what we work at improves
Lacking a sense of Mastery can feel like the opposite of the Midas touch–everything we touch turns to…whatever the opposite of gold is. We may repeatedly run into failure. We may try really hard at something with no noticeable improvement. We may feel like a failure. Without a healthy sense of Mastery, we may compare ourselves to others and believe they are outpacing us and we’re getting left behind. We may learn to believe that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us. We may stick to our old skillset and avoid trying new things. Or we may avoid trying altogether.

Actions that cultivate personal Mastery:

  • Learn to feel, listen to, and act upon emotions in healthy, productive ways.
  • Get good at the process of things rather than focusing on results.
  • Practice a growth mindset.
  • Give yourself permission to suck at some things.
  • Practice combining healthy expectations with self-patience.
  • Compare yourself to you from yesterday, last month, or last year.
  • Learn something new and put that knowledge into action within 48 hours.
  • Focus most of your time, energy, and efforts on things within your sphere of control.
  • Be honest with yourself regarding your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Practice using at least one of your strengths daily.
  • Make and keep a physical fitness goal. Focus your goal on the process rather than the results.
  • Practice sincere curiosity with yourself, especially regarding feelings of failure.
  • Do your therapy work regarding experiences and feelings of failure.
  • Practice a breath and/or body meditation.
  • Practice something new with diligence and consistency.

Actions that cultivate interpersonal Mastery:

  • Work with a mentor/coach who can teach and empower you.
  • Surround yourself with people who are skilled at communication, cooperation, and collaboration.
  • Put effort into making a new friend.
  • Serve and uplift those who may be less fortunate than you.
  • Practice being more assertive and perhaps a bit less agreeable.
  • Make and keep promises to those close to you.
  • Do your therapy work, especially patterns of perceived interpersonal failure.