It’s so easy to work hard, gain skills, learn, grow, achieve impressive outcomes, hear others’ accolades about ourselves AND NEVER OWN THAT WE’VE HIT MASTERY.

Professional mastery creeps up on us.

We chisel our unique gifts and amass year after year of application-experience. We love our work.

But a bell doesn’t ring when we hit mastery. There’s no rite of passage and no bouquet of balloons.

Other people see it. You hear it in the appreciation they express. People are awed by what you did; perhaps by what you helped them achieve or how you made them or your company shine.

By then, it had become an easy and natural to do what you do. By now, you may well take it for granted.

Whitney Johnson talks about this in her teaching about the S-Curve of growth.

When we reach mastery, it isn’t a big stretch anymore.

And in my experience as an executive coach, women in particular greatly underestimate the level unconscious competence they’re reached. If it isn’t hard … if it doesn’t take efforting … it must not be … valuable.

Have you taken for granted the mastery you’ve gained?

Have you mistaken the ease with which you lead, teach, direct, write, public speak, run operations, smooth customer complaints, deliver results?

If so, it’s time to update the snapshot you have of yourself.


Make sure you see the competence others see in you.

Make sure you claim within yourself the mastery you’ve gained.

The most important picture we can ever capture is the one we have of ourselves through a clear, updated lens.