Learning from the Master to Being a Master

“If you never copy best practices, you’ll have to repeat all the mistakes yourself.

If you only copy best practices, you’ll always be one step behind the leaders.”

James Clear

I recently participated in an 8-day Meditation Retreat.  What a commitment!  The unique methodology of this particular program is to point the way, breaking down the art and science of meditation into miniscule steps, being guided by a Master Teacher.  It was an amazing experience and I left feeling a sense of stability in taking my next steps in my meditation practice.  

As a Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, and as a coach trainer, I’ve had the privilege of ‘pointing the way’ for coaches whom I’ve trained and served. My mindset as a master teacher is to show the way by passing along what I’ve learned in my experience and supporting them to find their own way.  

There is this wonderful dance between a master teacher and their students.  Part of being a master teacher is knowing when to guide and when to let go.  Demonstrated in the quote above you see a space between the guidance sentence and the letting go sentence.  That space represents the ‘breaking away’ process that we go through whenever we step away from our master teacher, our guidance system. 

The breaking away space is quite elusive at times.  Healthy breaking away and knowing when you’re ready lends itself to a strong sense of stability in what you’ve learned.  So much so, that if you ‘fail’ you will not crumble into survival but will touch base with your teacher for reflection and continued learning.  As elusive as it may be, here are a few identifiers that will help you to know if you are ready to break away and become your own master.  


The most important element of a master teacher/student relationship is Trust.  I was introduced to my Meditation teacher through a person I trust immensely.  That is the first layer of trust.  Right when the retreat began, the Meditation Master Teacher ruptured a disc!  Along with a support staff and co-teachers, he was able to complete the 8 days with us.  His level of commitment and discipline to his mission created an enormous amount of trust for me.  Being in that trustful space, I was able to lean into the ‘hard work’ of learning new skills. 


Training to act in accordance with the rules.  This is where I say to my students; You have to first learn the rules, so you know how to artfully break them! When working with a master teacher, they will give you ‘ways of doing things’ that make no sense to you.  You may even think you can take a shortcut and get the same results.  (I’m talking about Shortcut Shawn here).  I’ve learned over the years-there really are no shortcuts to mastery.  You have to learn the rules, whatever they are and do the work. When you feel confident in knowing the rules, are ready to lead yourself.  


Practice is actual application of the rules, the processes, the methodology you’re learning.  Practice is how you go from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence.  Until you learn how to practice, you will keep yourself stuck in the breaking away process.  Think of it this way, Practice is your set of Wings! 


Promise or agreement to do something.  Commitment is absolutely a non-negotiable in order to spread your wings and lead yourself.  If you do not commit to the discipline (learned way) and practice (application of the way) you will find yourself back in survival.  Commitment takes you from stability to significance.  

When you feel that sense of ‘unconscious competence’ in whatever new skill you’ve learned, you’ll know that you went through the process of learning from a master to becoming a master.  Now it’s your turn to start the process all over again, only now as a master teacher keeping the evolution of humanity thriving! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *