There comes a time on the journey of self-development when we reach a level of working that is different from all the previous levels. It is likely that the new experiences are no less challenging than before; it's just that we see them in a different way, accomplish them with more ease and flow; and put them into new contexts and meanings. We have few words to describe this new state: "mastery" is one of them.

Here are 7 ways you can move your work to the level of mastery.

1. Love What You Do. Love for one's work is the simplest recipe for mastering one's goals. It also makes the process of self-development one of joy.
· love is self-acceptance and recognition, rather than the need for acceptance and recognition by others.
· love has no boundaries as action has. In the words of Mother Teresa: "We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love."
· love is emotional intelligence, which along with technical intelligence and intelligent action is the route to mastery.
· love is doing difficult things simply.

"Work is love made visible and if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy." (Kahlil Gibran)

2. Become An Artist. When we grow and develop, we do not simply acquire new and improved skills. We gain a depth of understanding that changes who we are and how we see life: we reach artistry.

Here is one way to see this process. The apprentice knows the rules. The craftsman knows the rules and performs the skills. The master knows the rules, performs the skills, and sees the point. The artist knows the rules, performs the skills, sees the point and understands the deeper meaning.

We can all be artists. In "The Search for Meaning", Charles Handy quotes a businessman who is awestruck by the performance of a group of "ordinary people" in the French circus troupe, Cirque Plume and wonders: "Why do we have to bribe our people with so much money to work as well as this? Are we missing something?"

3. Pursue Excellence Not Perfection. The difference between perfection and excellence is that perfection is a prize in the gift of others and nearly always impossible to achieve while excellence is a standard which we can work towards each day.

Perfection: completion, arriving, ending, reaching the peak, receiving the ultimate prize.
Excellence: a process, a journey, a quality standard, a way of life, relationships, attitudes, personal well-being, strategies for living, giving.

"The surest hindrance of success is to have too high a standard of refinement in our minds or to high an opinion of the judgement of the public. He who is determined not to be satisfied with anything short of perfection will never do anything to please himself or others." (William Hazlitt 1778-1830)

4. Tithe. In the Middle Ages, the meaning of "tithing" was to hand over one tenth (a "tithe") of your land and stock to your landlord. Today tithing means giving part of what you earn to others. Writer Anthony Robbins suggests we should give 10% (the original tenth) of our income away and not just when we are successful but also when we are starting out.

Some of the ways to tithe are:
· investing in your family's future
· investing in your own future
· investing in helping others in the community in need
· investing in those who helped you
· investing in those who need your help
· investing in those who are now where you once were
· investing in others for no reason than what this tells you about yourself.

"You make a living from what you get; you make a life from what you give." (Arthur Ashe)

5. Identify Yourself With Your Work. The ultimate awareness is when your work is no longer apart from you but a part of you. The features of mastery as the ultimate awareness are that...
· we feel whole; everything falls into place; layers of meaning make sense
· work is simple if not always easy
· our work is like a love affair
· we are fully in the experience of our work, body, mind and soul, the way children often are
· there is no more tension or effort
· doing is all that matters, not the rewards
· we are what we do.

"Always you put more of yourself into your work, until one day, you never know exactly which day, it happens, you are your work." (Pablo Picasso)

6. Celebrate And Give Thanks. Celebration at achieving our goals is right and proper. For hundreds of years, men and women have worked for six days and then stopped on the seventh to give thanks and celebrate.

· celebration marks important milestones on the journey to our goals.
· celebration marks life transitions, such as birth and beginning, endings and change.
· celebration is a sacred rite and ritual.
· celebration is a way of sharing goal achievement with those who have made it possible.
· celebration is where work meets fun.

"There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want and after that to enjoy it. Many achieve the first; only the wisest of mankind ever achieve the second." (Logan Smith)

7. Peak Experiences. The ultimate stage of personal development of our skills is often glimpsed as a peak experience. This is when we do our work with a different feeling: confident and humble, invincible and connected, calm and at the highest level of awareness.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow described the ultimate destination point of personal development as a spiritual one. He says it is possible only when all our other personal and interpersonal needs are being met and operating at a high level.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” (Albert Einstein)

Follow these 7 precepts and your work will have found true meaning.

© Eric Garner, ManageTrainLearn. 2009

Author's Bio: 

Eric Garner is Managing Director of ManageTrainLearn, the site that will change the way you learn forever. Download free samples of the biggest range of management and personal development materials anywhere and experience learning like you always dreamed it could be. Just click on ManageTrainLearn and explore.