Kim works as a paralegal. It wasn’t what she set out to do. She wanted to be a lawyer. Still wants to be. Kim lives in an emotional state of unworthiness. We could go into the reasons why: baggage passed down from her parents, early childhood experiences, all the usual suspects. But none of that really matters for our purposes here. The point is, there are things Kim wants to do with her life, but there is always a little voice in her head telling her she doesn’t really deserve it. She had the grades to get into Yale or Harvard, but in Kim’s mind, those were places for special people and she was just…average. So she went to a middle-of-the-road law school and she finished near the top of her class. A couple of law firms even tried to recruit her, but when it came time to take the bar exam, she just couldn’t pull the trigger. In Kim’s mind, wanting to be a lawyer and actually being one were two very different things. She took a job as a paralegal, figuring she could get her feet wet, gain some real world experience, and then, when she was ready, she would take the next step and get her law license. That was fifteen years ago.
It’s easy to get stuck. Especially when we’re in a comfortable place. In Kim’s case, she liked her job. She loved the lawyers she worked with and was passionate about the type of law they practiced. She got to be in the middle of the action without the added responsibility of having her name on the door. But at the end of the day, there’s a hole in Kim’s life. She knows what she needs to do to fill it, but the anxiety that arises every time she thinks about it is enough to hold her back. Kim is not an outlier. Believe me, I see it all the time.
The journey to personal mastery occurs in three stages, and we like to think of moving from one stage to the next as passing through a window. Stage 1 is Unconsciousness. It is here that we are simply going through life, lost in our patterns, believing that the world is simply happening to us. When we are in enough pain AND education and training are available to us, there is an opening to pass through the window into Stage 2: Awareness. It is here that we develop the ability and capacity to choose. We become aware of ourselves and our patterns and hone the tools we need to shift out of fear-based patterns. How we relate with Stage 2 will determine our results and whether or not we transition into Stage 3: Ownership. In Stage 3 we are committed and accountable, and persistent optimization is possible. However, people often get caught in Stage 2 and can stay stuck there for months, years, maybe even their entire lives. Professionally, Kim is caught in Stage 2. She’s stuck there because she is Tolerating. For the most part, life is good. She’s worked hard to get to the place she’s at, she’s able to pay the bills, and she enjoys what she does. Taking her career to the next level of becoming a practicing lawyer would cause disruption in her life, discomfort. And in Kim’s mind, there’s always tomorrow.
Similarly, on the way to personal mastery, Stage 2 can feel comfy and cozy and it becomes inviting to just stay put. You’ve worked hard to get to Stage 2. You’ve built up a solid set of tools and you’ve honed your skills. Most importantly, you’ve noticed a difference in your life. You’re able to manage your emotional state in even the most difficult situations. Maybe you’ve found relationships improving, your career has finally started going in the right direction, your body feels healthy and fit. And now you’re looking at me and saying, Seriously Joey? You want me to go even further? My answer, as you probably already know, is, You bet your ass I do. Even at the highest levels of Stage 2, you’re still in the early part of your journey. You’re like Luke Skywalker the first time he’s able to move an object with his mind. It’s a neat trick, but it’s not going to be enough to defeat the Empire.
Transitioning into Stage 3 means going beyond recognizing and managing our emotional state. It requires taking ownership and accountability of our emotional patterns and our actions. That’s going to mean experiencing some discomfort along the way and many people simply are not willing to opt in for that. But it’s not called Personal Good Enough, it’s called Personal Mastery.
The path to Personal Mastery begins at the Power Series. Click HERE to learn more about our core curriculum and start your journey today!