Let’s take a look at a couple of simple steps that we can take to achieve self-mastery. First I guess we should define what we mean by self-mastery. For that discussion you should know that I believe that we are emotional beings, so my definition would include control of our emotions. Beyond that if we are to be the masters of our self we need to understand what we want.
Tony Robbins put together a five step process which I believe is a good starting point. The five steps he outlined were:
- Know your outcome. OK, this to me would be your vision or a definition of what you want. Folded into this would be your definition of success.
- Know your reasons why. I would include your values and your purpose in this step.
- Take massive action. I am all for this and it is what I call execution.
- Know what you are getting. This I would say was more like an analysis to see if you are on track.
- Change your approach. Based on that analysis above do you have to modify your plan based on new knowledge or changed circumstance?
I would add, acceptance as a viable step in here as an alternative to change or as an integral part of change. Self-mastery must include our ability to accept our own limitations (physical, mental, emotional or spiritual). I do not believe we should be driven by these limitations but we should be realistic. Acceptance is seeing things as they truly are, not the way we want them to be or even hope them to be. Don’t use this as an excuses to quit but also don’t ignore reality. Factor reality into your plans and accept situations and people for what and who they are.
We (Catalyst) will incorporate self-mastery within our leadership training programs and consider it to be a vital part of our life-time learning. To be successful several elements must come together. We must understand our purpose and our values to define the path we want to go on. We must develop some skills to support the mission we are on. Then we must develop self-mastery to focus us on our mission and realize our vision. Many times I have seen one or more of these elements missing.
If you don’t understand what you want you have no defined path. You spend all your time reacting to the latest event with no way to prioritize. Eventually you discover you are lost and a crisis results. If you do not develop any skills (leadership, technical, etc.) you do not have the tools to execute. With no technical skill you can’t do it yourself and with no leadership skills you can’t get someone else to do it for you. Without self-mastery you will not be able to operate effectively in this emotional culture.
Consider yesterday, how well did that go for you? Were you in control or were you in react mode? Did you make progress against your goals and come closer to realizing your vision or are you working on someone else’s vision? How could you have made it better? Was one of the three elements missing?
Take some time to look at the big picture. Don’t spend your time focused on failures, things that went wrong, or actions you wish were different. Look at the total picture and see what can be learned. Take some time today to define what it is you want. Start drawing a picture of your vision in your mind. What does success look like? Look at your environment and identify what is real. When you know what you want look at all the resources you have. Using all these resources how can you achieve your vision? If you need help, how can you pull a team together? How will you know if you are still on the correct path?
The real first step is deciding that you want control of your life. Now get ready to step out!