Going from Good to Great!
How do we go from good to great? Of late, I have been hearing a lot about how (past and current) great creative masters (whether musicians, chefs, programmers, artists, designers, etc.) were able to stand out amongst others in their field. What I am finding is that the first step towards mastery is to learn and replicate how the best have done it before you. However, after that you must go one step further and take all that you know (in your heart and mind) and all the experiences you've had in your life and channel it into your work, so you can recreate it as your own. This idea implies that contrary to what some people might believe, it isn't shameful to copy what others are doing or have done -- matter-of-fact it's encouraged -- but the world still needs your special stamp on it. How can you present your skill in a way that reflects your unique perspectives and experiences?
To illustrate this point, think about what it takes to learn a new language. You need to first learn the main structures of the new language and vocabulary, so that you can build up to some phrases before you can then start freely expressing yourself. The same can be applied to learning how to play an instrument. You have to learn notes, strung together to play chords, and some basic songs before you can then start to improvise and create your own music and signature style.
Achieving mastery takes confidence, courage and the ability to trust one's self above and beyond the doubts/condemnation/criticism of others, as well as from your own inner critic. Are you able to recognize when internal or external voices are telling you to stop and still make the conscious choice to move forward anyway? Are you willing to work through obstacles and use disappointments as opportunities to learn how to continue forward? If so, mastery is well within your reach.
I encourage you to think about how you can take what you have learned and experienced in life; and package it up together in your own unique way to present to the world. What would that look and feel like? Trust that you are enough, you already have everything you need within you, and what you have to offer is special (even if others are doing similar work) because it is part of you and there is no one else in this world like you.