For a recent MBA Change Management course we used a book written by Peter Senge titled: The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. The book reviews strategies and tools for building a learning organization using five disciplines yet theses disciplines can be incorporated into our own personal growth and development plans:
- Personal Mastery – the learning discipline to expand an individual’s capacity to create the results they desire. To understand ourselves, know our purpose in life, and to direct energies by using our strengths to create more meaningful contributions in life.
- Mental Models – reflecting, continually clarifying, and improving our internal pictures of the world – seeing how they shape our actions and behaviors.
- Shared Vision – commitment in a group by developing shared images of the future and the principles and guiding practices in how to get there.
- Team Learning – groups of people develop intelligence and use collective thinking skills which is greater than any individual talent.
- Systems Thinking – a way of thinking and a language for describing and understanding the forces of interrelationships which shape the behavior of systems.
The course it got me fired up. How great could the business world be if more organizations implemented these disciplines! It is one of only a few textbooks I’ve kept due to the connection I made with Senge’s ideals and theories. My book is marked up and tagged with key take a-ways and reminders on what could be a perfect business, company, organization, or even world.
For me, Personal Mastery is the key to all five disciplines. It is the discipline of personal growth and learning. It helps us look inside ourselves to reveal what we are truly capable of. Senge says Personal Mastery is “a commitment to truth, a relentless willingness to uncover the ways we limit and deceive ourselves.” Practicing personal mastery clarifies our personal purpose and vision and creates our desired future. It is about empowerment, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. Without the understanding of who we are, what we like and dislike, our strengths and limitations, we cannot contribute to the level we were designed to.
One of the greatest returns on investments we can make is to invest in ourselves. People are often too busy or distracted to focus on them selves yet, it is from us that everything in our life stems from. By practicing personal mastery habits we can uncover our passions and live a more fulfilled and authentic life.
The Personal Mastery path will be different for each person. Below are some components to help you understand how a focus on Personal Mastery can help you be happier and feel more successful in your chosen life.
- Forgiveness – the journey cannot begin without first forgiving yourself and others. If you are harboring any resentment, release the shackles that bind you to anything negative from your past. This is a very important step that cannot be skipped over. Without forgiveness, you won’t be able to learn about and grow into who you were meant to be.
- Know yourself – this is how the Personal Mastery journey begins. Understand your personality, beliefs, values, natural strengths, why do you do the things you do, and what makes you happy. Knowing yourself helps you to overcome fears and eliminates limiting beliefs. It increases your confidence and develops a strong sense of self-belief.
- Love yourself– you cannot be loved by others without first loving yourself. Loving yourself allows for you to express yourself complexly – to speak your mind and not be ashamed of being who you truly are. Self-love gives you confidence and is part of knowing yourself.
- Develop, write, and live your purpose statement – understand your “blue flame”, your purpose for being born. A life without purpose and meaning is as if you are sailing with no direction or hope of finding the land.
- Maintain a positive mindset – see the best in yourself and others. Having a mindset with a positive filter on it will help to direct your thoughts, actions and behaviors to a positive result.
- Practice discipline – fully commit to your goals and aspirations. Break them into workable parts and work on them daily. Discipline is the connection that will help you achieve any goal you set your heart and mind to.
- Be proactive – self-understanding, love, and discipline gives you the direction to lead a proactive life. It gives you the freedom to choose your reaction and to take the steps needed to when things don’t go as planned.
I invite you to walk through the Personal Mastery journey with me. I’ll be reviewing each of these components at a deeper level over the next seven posts.
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” — Bob Moawad