The 5 Stages of Connecting to a Life Calling – Stage 5

Stage 5 is Mastery –

In the Mastery stage you feel confident (not necessarily content), with the skills and techniques you’ve developed and you don’t hesitate to offer your expertise to others.

In the Mastery stage you are always listening to others explain their challenges through a filter of what you know so that you can offer your perspective and services as a potential remedy.  You know, that others don’t know, what you know to the degree you know it.  You also know that they don’t need to know everything you know – they just need what they are ready to understand as they face their challenges, get answers to their question, advance their goals, etc.  Understanding what another is ready to absorb to feel satisfied (and not overwhelmed) – that is another sign that you are in the mastery stage of your career development.

When we have a sense for how to help another without overwhelming them, we treat them with patience.  We are calm and don’t become annoyed while they take time to digest what we have to offer and see how it can be helpful to them – even if they are or become difficult to deal with.  It becomes ok for them to be ready to accept what we have to offer – or – to not be ready to accept our help and expertise.  We don’t make their rejection mean anything about us or them – it doesn’t mean we are incompetent, un-valuable, or that they are stupid, ineffective or “difficult”, etc.

Of course we need time to develop and master our techniques, but just “time spent in a job” isn’t enough to earn “master-level stripes”.  Confidence that how you do what you do and evidence that it will produce good results over and over again plus willingness to give it (without concern for how good or bad it might make you look to offer it or do it), are much more critical.  If we still have concern for what others might think of us (good or bad), for the knowledge, skills and services we put out into the world – we are not in mastery – we may have evolved back into discovery (remember, it’s in the Discovery phase that we question how we’re being utilized and judged for our contributions).

In Mastery we feel connected to a mission of what our knowledge and services can do for others – so the urge to give it burns within us.  If we feel underutilized in our role, we might feel inclined to move on to another job – not because we are offended that others don’t seem to value us (and think “what jerks they are for not thinking I am great!”), but because the need to give what we have to offer is bigger than our desire to be personally respected, cherished, compensated or secure in our employment.  When we are in Mastery, we must feel able to give but we must also be active in giving what we have to offer to others.

So if you are feeling inclined to leave your current job for a similar one – ask yourself “Why?”  Is it because you feel you have more to offer than the opportunities you see that are available to you?  Is it because you don’t feel respected, cherished, compensated or secure enough?  Is it something else?

When we are in the Mastery stage, we know what our mission is.  Can you identify a mission statement for what you have to offer to others?  Below is a template to help you nail down your mission statement …


My mission is to guide (who you serve) to (an expected result of what you do for them) so that they can realize a sense of (how will they feel as a result of what you do for them – an unexpected result).


I mentioned in the first sentence of this phase that although we may feel confident about what we have to offer to others, we may not necessarily feel content with our knowledge and expertise.  Mastery does not mean “done” developing our knowledge, skills and techniques – rather, it means that we are always on a quest to further our abilities.  We want to offer others everything we can to make their lives easier, better, happier, more complete, etc.

In this phase we will be interested in both learning from others and teaching others and we will do what it takes to establish ourselves as an expert.  We might seek opportunities to gain more credentials through formal education, writing blogs, publishing our work or speaking professionally.  We feel an urge to learn from and teach others (those we serve and those who are our peers), what we know and have learned through our experience.  We know that inspiration to gain an evolved perspective of what we do for others can come from both expected (i.e. education, feedback from customers, peers and bosses, board or industry affiliations/service), and unexpected (i.e. spirituality, children, people watching at a shopping center) places.

We seek to continue learning from an expanded context of our role – from a sense of feeling connected to a calling and with an advanced ability to recognize opportunities that can bring us closer to serving others what we have to offer.

Notice the amount of money you earn has nothing to do with the Mastery stage – Mastery does not include earning the most amount of money you can imagine for the job you do.  Money is a by-product of fully performing within any of the 5 stages.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that many of the highest paying careers require extensive dedication and personal sacrifice.  In order to do them well or to have the stamina to do them at all – especially over a prolonged period of time, there must be a connection to a sense of purpose (serving others) and recognition of a personal calling to do that work (you see how what you have to offer is a good match with that profession).

You may overlap stages – ideally you will overlap from time to time as you progress through the career development cycle.  You will also revisit each of these stages many times in your life no matter what job or career choice you make.  Again, Mastery does not mean “done” – it’s just the stage before we get an expanded sense of how we can do what we do for others in an even bigger way.

What stage are you currently at?  At this time in my life I am in stage # ________

What is one thing you can do to progress on towards the next stage?

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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