Journey to Career Mastery


 “If people knew how hard I have had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful.” Michelangelo

I talk to adults everyday who want to make a dramatic change in their world of work, but the journey to career mastery can be difficult. Their first challenge is doing enough research and soul searching to find a discipline or job that will hold their interest over the long term. For some, this new career leverages their education and skill set. For others, this new commitment will require them to learn entirely something new.  Either way, in order to become successful in a new career, you must be willing to put time and attention into becoming an expert in your industry as it relates to current events and often, mastering new skills.

More than ever your future depends on your willingness to learn which means that before you master something, you have to be a student first. Of course that means you will make mistakes and probably ask for a lot of help as you learn. This prospect may be preventing you from the benefits of learning new things as an adult and ultimately getting in the way of future challenges and happiness.

In the past we were programmed to believe that as we aged, we could rest on our education and accomplishments in order to build a career and this is no longer true. Our ability to be resilient and employable in this new economy rests on our ability to become curious and dedicate ourselves to mastering new skills and technologies.

I have been through my own struggles myself as I have resisted new technologies that I soon found to be very helpful to my clients. In the last few years, thanks to the help of my colleague Paul, I have learned how to blog, how to set up a social network, how to do webinars and conduct video calls.  None of this has been easy and I am still learning, which means I make errors, but I have had to become willing to become humble about learning.  I still need a lot of practice to become masterful at all these new skills but I am determined to get there.

Watch this fun video for inspiration: and then create your own list of how you can create more mastery at work related to your current job and where you want to head in the future. Consider these ideas:

·         Conferences

·         Podcasts

·         Webinars

·         Apprenticing with people who you admire

·         Classes – in person and online

·         Developing a relationship with a career mentor


Laurel Donnellan

CEO and Founder, Bright Livelihoods


Laurel has 30 years of experience as a leader, educator and coach and has degrees from Cornell and Columbia. To learn more about the Bright Livelihoods community, go to To request a private half-hour coaching session, e-mail us at

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