April 6, 2022

The Tension of Personal Mastery

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Welcome to Luminex Group! My name is Tom, I am the Transition Ministry/Church Vitality Catalyst and I want to introduce you to a discipleship concept called Personal Mastery, one of five disciplines of learning organizations.

Personal Mastery is the ongoing pursuit of personal growth and learning toward achieving one’s fullest potential. To truly accomplish this one must learn the art of living and leading life from a creative rather than reactive viewpoint.

Personal Mastery can include the practice of spiritual disciplines, mentoring as well as other forms of formal and informal education.

Consider the following benefits of seeking personal mastery for oneself and for a congregation –

People with high levels of Personal Mastery

  •  evidence higher commitment
  • take more initiative
  • have a broader and deeper sense of responsibility in their work
  • are faster learners and
  • evidence greater degrees of happiness overall

So whether you are pursuing Personal Mastery for yourself or for your congregation, the full development of people is essential to achieving lofty goals. And it is what the Church is intended to accomplish. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…”

Personal Mastery is a discipline in which individuals continue to clarify what’s most important and to define current reality more clearly.

Consider Current Reality (CR) as where things are at right now. Now consider personal vision (V) as your deeper heart’s desires which have not yet been realized.

For example: My current house is too small for my growing family (CR). I desire a larger home with a bedroom for each child and a sprawling yard to play in (V). Personal Mastery is the journey I take from current reality toward the fulfillment of my desires, a larger home.

It is the arrow in the following diagram: CR —————————————> V
When the desire for change outweighs the comfort of staying put, progress is made.

Consider a rubber band wrapped around both index fingers. When the fingers are close together there is no tension on the band and therefore no movement. But when the fingers are moved away from each other tension is created and movement ensues.

This tension is an important factor in Personal Mastery, and keeps us moving forward toward our desired outcome. This positive momentum takes place as long as the desire to change outweighs the comfort of staying put. Then we are willing to be creative, take risks and try new things.

We consider this creative tension.

Creative tension takes place when there is freedom to experiment in new ways that promote positive change. If the experiment succeeds, current reality has changed and you have moved closer to your desired outcome. If the experiment does not produce the expected results more learning can take place through steady and consistent evaluation. This new learning can catalyze new ideas that might produce more satisfactory results the next time.

Some individuals and institutions fail to make forward progress when the tension between current reality and vision is too high. Discomfort sabotages creative energy and the individual becomes emotional or reactive. Emotional tension always seeks a way to lower the vision to more manageable or comfortable levels. We call this resistance.

Therefore, Personal Mastery involves learning how to generate and sustain creative tension in our lives and in the life of the church we serve, so that continued steady progress can continue. When a group of individuals that are experiencing increasing levels of personal mastery come together to make big decisions, better ideas flow, shared commitment ensues, and overall optimism continues to push the church toward greater vision and loftier goals! Without personal mastery, a congregation will struggle, be controlled by tradition/past, and will tend to stagnate.

If you want to know more about the concept of Personal Mastery and how to develop discipleship strategies that help develop full potential, contact us!

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