By January 22, 2009 Read More →

Master Your Craft

 

image

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." — Will Durant

One of the ways you can transform your ordinary day into extraordinary is to master your craft.  By thinking of yourself as a craftsman, you can think of your work as your art

By immersing yourself in your work, you become fully engaged.   When you’re fully engaged, you find your flow.   As you improve your art, you grow your ability.  As you grow yourself you grow your job.  The opposite is to disconnect from your work and just do your time. 

This not only wastes your time, but robs you of your growth and opportunity for enjoyment.  Every day is a new chance to pursuit mastery in what you already do.

In The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber writes about mastering your craft.

Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:

  • Mastery comes from your practice.  You know the saying, practice makes perfect.  Think of your craft as a path of mastery and each session is a new chance to practice.
  • Become one with your work.   You can treat your work as a chore, or you can lose yourself in it.  When you’re fully engaged, as when you’re practicing mastery, you can find enjoyment.  You improve your experience, and you can improve your ability and growth.
  • Seek the jewel.   Mastery is the jewel.
  • Teach others your craft.  Your growth is a continuous process.  You can renew your journey  by teaching others.  Teaching others will remind you of your original passion.  I very much identify with teaching others your craft as a way to renew the journey.  I remember when I first started writing books, I could get lost for hours on end.  For me, elation was transforming something overly complicated into something actionable and relevant.  I would carefully craft my sentences to put the emphasis in the right place and shine the spotlight on just the right points.  I find these joys again when I teach others the art of  precision or the art of accuracy.
  • Search within the ordinary things you do every day.   if you look to the routines and things you do each day, there’s always opportunity for improvement or transformation.  You don’t have to look "out there," you can look right in front of you.

I find that simply thinking of my work as my craft gives me a sense of ownership and a sense of play.  It helps me to play at my work, while flexing my abilities and growing myself and my job in the process.  I’ve even turned some of my most mundane activities into pursuits of excellence and that alone was enough to help me enjoy otherwise routine activities.

Mastery Comes from Your Practice
Gerber writes that mastery of the craftsperson comes from practice:

“A second kind of experience is when you begin to develop a certain level of mastery of the orchestrated skills your aunt introduced you to, mastery that comes from your practice.  That’s the mastery of the craftsperson.”

Become One With Your Work
Gerber writes that you should practice your craft mindlessly:

“The craftsperson develops a knowingness about the work she does that bears its own fruit of being present, or attentive.  The craftsperson learns that within the work she does there is a jewel hiding below the surface.  That the thrill of the craft is to discover the jewel.  And that there is only one way to discover it: to practice the craft mindlessly.  To become one with the work.  To polish and polish, as though with one’s heart.  That there is no way to know when the jewel will show itself, but to trust with all one’s heart that one day, when it is least expected, the jewel will be there!  It will appear.”

The Jewel Will Reveal Itself
Gerber writes that the thrill of mastery replaces the thrill of apprenticeship:

“And so the craftsperson is one who has reached that stage of her development where she is content with the work, and only the work, knowing that it is only through being there with one’s work that the jewel will reveal itself, and that it is the work, and only the work, raised to the level of near perfection that connects the craftsperson with herself, with her own heart.  And so she practices, day in and day out, content to do so, without the thrill of the apprentice to keep her going, but knowing deep inside that there is no place to go but here.   Unlike the apprentice’s stage, the craftsperson’s stage is long and relatively serene until the day when the jewel does appear, and with it a stunning explosion of light enraptures the craftsperson and brings with it mastery.”

Renew Your Journey by Teaching Another
Gerber writes that by teaching your craft to another, you renew your journey:

“You’ve seen mastery before, Sarah.  You’ve seen it in your aunt’s face, in her eyes, in the way she spoke to you.  For the master, there is only one way and that is to teach another.  The master is connected to the apprentice as though to her past.  As you are to your childhood.  The master knows that the process of growing, of change, of transformation, is always moving, never still.  Is is in the face of the apprentice that the master sees herself anew.  It is in the face of the craftsperson that the master renews her pilgrimage and finds the beauty of giving herself up to work.  It is in the face of the work that the  master discovers anew why she is so enraptured and, in so doing, brings her rapture to the apprentice to start all over again. In much the same way, Orchestration builds upon that which preceded it, and becomes the foundation for that which is about to follow, and, in the process, honors the past, the present, and the future.”

Search Within the Ordinary Things You Do Everyday
Gerber writes that you should search for improvements within the ordinary things you do every day:

“To me, Sarah, that is what the Business Development Process is all about; it is a search, within which the very ordinary things we must do from day-to-day are the essential hub of the wheel around which the search moves.”

My Related Posts

Photo by dollen.

11 Comments on "Master Your Craft"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. My favorite is “Mastery comes from your practice” …. LOL!

    I also loved “Renew Your Journey by Teaching Another” a lot.

    You surely enjoy this journey sharing your insights on this blog and beyond it….

    Thanks!

  2. Evelyn Lim says:

    I like the idea of mastering my craft. I have every intention of exploring more deeply into what I’ve learned in the last one year, which is a lot!! Most certainly, I welcome the thought that the “jewel will reveal itself” soon! The quote that you’ve shared is so beautifully articulated!

  3. James Irvine says:

    You reminded me to slow down and become more conscious of everything I do. We tend to operate on auto pilot most of the time as we rush through the day. There’s no way you can master your craft like this. What your article has done is made me conscious once again, and from now on I’m going to take care of the minute by minute process of my craft and be aware of something wonderful taking shape.
    James Irvine, Team Egyii, Singapore

  4. JD says:

    @ Alik

    I find sharing is one of the best ways to rekindle the spark.

    @ Evelyn

    You have learned a lot and you’ve shared a lot on your blog. I bet you will find a ton of jewels.

    @ James

    I like that. Enjoying your craft one minute at a time.

  5. Diane says:

    This is so beautiful!

    In every word there was flow of pure enjoyment and a perfect description fof the course of mastery. Honing and learning and practicing, I loved it! Thanks! It’s actually speaks to the ease in the doing of it. The essence of the work is were you engage fully in it. A time honored existance from the mundane to the extaordinary.

  6. Diane says:

    Hi Again!

    It brings in the spiritual element and leaves nothing out of it.

    Become one with your work!

    I tell my son to become one with his surfboard and the ocean when he is out surfing. He always says mom you don’t know what your talking about. I say one day you’ll know what I mean.

  7. JD says:

    @ Diane

    I like your story. Yes, one day he’ll know what you mean and he’ll thank you for it.

  8. Isaiah says:

    Great Post I wonder are there any books on this topic!

  9. JD says:

    @ Isaiah — Thank you. Yes, there are multiple books on this topic, and the EMyth is a classic.