George Leonard, the American writer, educator, editor – and a pioneer in the human potential movement – passed away on January 6th.  While I never had the chance to meet or be in the presence of him, I have been deeply influenced by one of his books: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment; (New York: Penguin Books, 1991).  It is among my “must read” books for anyone committed to living their lives as a Creator.

Leonard advises that “mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.”

As we live, work and relate with others from the Creator Orientation, through our experience we often feel led to a deeper relationship with one or more aspects of creating in our lives.  We begin to focus on this aspect of expressing in a special way. This focus, according to Leonard, is on “some mode of thought and expression, some interpersonal or entrepreneurial enterprise, some art or craft.”

For some this may be the mastery of everyday living like parenting, gardening, or working in the profession of our choosing.  Whatever its focus, the mastering signifies action.  It’s a way of being, not something to obtain.

One personal example comes from my experience in facilitating countless leadership development programs. Frankly, I have done some presentations so many times, I could do them “with my eyes closed.”  Yet I love sharing the ideas with people so much that in facilitating an experience, there are times when the way of expression and the dialogue that ensues brings about new insights that I have never thought about before.

When that happens, something new is created out of the experience. There may be a breakthrough to the next level of expression. Many times an insight that comes from a participant may add a new way of articulating the message.  I love “practicing the craft” of these presentations for their own sake.

The most powerful aspect, however, of Leonard’s teaching about the way of mastery may come as a disappointment.  Or, as it has for me, it may come as an opening and source of freedom to choose the path of mastery – of being a Creator.

That One cannot ever attain complete mastery over a thing or process.  You will never “have mastered” – you can only be in the process of mastering. You are always on the journey, practicing the discipline of that aspect or expression of life that calls for mastery.

What, in your life, calls to you and invites into the lifelong process of mastery?

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