Understanding the Road to Mastery

When you set out to learn anything, whether it’s how to play the piano or drive a car or speak a new language, there are four phases you must go through in order to achieve mastery.

It is critical to understand these phases for two reasons. First, so you do not get discouraged and quit. Second, so you can gauge where you are on the road to mastery and acknowledge your accomplishments.

This article will be discussing the four phases as they relate to obtaining mastery in communication however the basic premise applies to any learning you may encounter. While in reality these phases overlap, it’s helpful to think about them as separate and distinct.

Phase One: Unaware

This is the state often referred to as, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” In this phase you don’t even necessarily know you need to learn anything. You are thinking/saying/doing things the way you always have and getting the results you are getting. You may not be happy or satisfied with the results but you don’t associate your results with your communication or realize there’s anything you can do about it. It’s just the way things are.

Phase Two: Awareness

Something happens that wakes you up to the idea your communication is not working the way you intend it to, or you see the possibility that there is a connection between how you communicate and your results.

Suddenly, you can’t avoid seeing it. It’s as if blinders were removed. Everywhere you look you start to see flaws in communication; examples of communication not working. This is similar to when you become aware of a presenter frequently saying, “um.” Instantly, that is all you can hear.

Phase Three: Deliberate Competency

In this phase you begin to think/speak/act differently but it takes effort. You have to think about it and be very conscious of communicating differently. There is a high level of intentionality and mindfulness required. You have to remember to do it the new way because the old way is so ingrained in you.

With each success it gets easier and easier. Think about when you first learned to drive. The steering wheel felt huge; changing lanes required thinking through each step in the process before you could complete the task. Each time you successfully completed the task of changing lanes you became more confident and adept.

Phase Four: New Normal

Effective communication is now second nature; easy peasy. You have shifted from your old way of thinking and communicating that didn’t produce the results you wanted and are now reliable at communicating in ways which work for you. You are confident in your ability to handle any situation effectively. You don’t shy away from challenging or potentially difficult situations. In fact, you welcome them as opportunities to expand and develop your communication capacity.

When there are the occasional snafus or glitches you know it’s a communication issue and you work to resolve it by using your extensive communication skills to create a positive outcome.

Remember that obtaining mastery in communication is a process. You will have breakthroughs and breakdowns along the way. The important thing is to remember that the breakdowns are opportunities not barriers. When things go awry it is an opening to learn thereby forwarding you on your path to mastery.

About the Authors:

Lisa Giruzzi is a leading authority on communication and has spent more than 25 years helping people to be more successful through effective communication. Sandy Fowler is an expert on de-stressing your life with simple, practical strategies that let people find a way to create what they desire. Lisa and Sandy have combined their expertise to create a powerful program to help people get the results they want. They recently produced a FREE audio program on the “Three Biggest Communication Myths that are Keeping You From Getting What YOU Want” which is available at www.Your4Keys.com.