In the last several weeks I’ve confirmed something I’ve suspected but didn’t know for sure. I have the right compass for my Hero’s Journey! I AM THRILLED TO CONFIRM THAT. No looking back now.
I think a story I heard tonight says it best. A young piano student was super frustrated with her piano teacher. She complained to anyone who’d listen that the teacher was not only intense during the actual piano lessons, but that she gave too much hard homework to master before the next lesson and expected her to practice, practice, practice. “And she keeps adding new techniques and skills! It’s too much,” she’d wail. When she finally worked up nerve to complain to the teacher herself, the teacher only smiled, opened the piano book to the first piece the student had struggled over and played poorly, and asked her to play it. Amazingly, this time the student played that first piece easily and flawlessly! Dumbfounded, the very proud and now grateful student suddely understood what the teacher had been doing and why.
For these past 5 months I and hundreds of people across the world have been taking a university-level class called The Master Key Experience. It has been a huge time and energy commitment! In preparation for our Sunday night live sessions, we download and print three items: a workbook that we will use during the class, a checklist of assignments for the coming week, and the Master Key reading for the week. Once a week on Sunday evenings it’s a 3-hour commitment as we experience intense online presentations on new concepts, reinforcement of what we’ve learned, and a lively and inspiring Q & A session. Daily it’s a commitment of 60-90 minutes. We start each week checking off on an app that we’ve accomplished the assigned tasks for morning, after lunch, and evening. In addition to reading the Charles Haanel chapter for the week and sitting and thinking about it for at least 15 minutes, we also read aloud our six-step Blueprint, our Definite Major Purpose statement, our service cards with our commitments to accomplish, and other index cards with several inspiring phrases. These weeks we’re working on the Franklin Makeover and observing around us and working to incorporate another of his suggested virtues so we track how that’s going. I keep the pen out to write out six index cards for each day: 3 gratitudes, 1 moment in the day I relive and cherish, and 2 kindnesses I did or observed. I insert these new cards into two decks of index cards that have been accumulating and I take one deck and turn each card as I think warmly about the people I’ve connected with, the things I’ve accomplished over my lifetime, affirmations, question cards, and the accumulation of gratitudes, cherished moments and kindnesses. What a confidence builder! I then read the scroll for the month from Og Mandino’s THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD. I check my assignment sheet for the week to make sure I’ve left nothing out–these weeks we’re reading an obituary daily and asking ourselves 3 questions about it. There’s more through the day at other times–listening to the audio recording of my voice reading my DMP over my favorite music, studying my movie poster and imagining my life as an exciting movie, associating with my own Hero’s Journey four shapes/colors I have been instructed to put around the house and in the car, sharing on the Marco Polo app with others in my tribe, commenting on Master Mind posts online with other tribes , and more–depending on the week. Once a week I also attend our tribe’s zoom call, I think about and write my blog, and I check out nine other blogs and comment on them and share at least one of them to my social media. On Monday nights I take their class on how to better use media tools.
Like the piano student, I have often felt overwhelmed and pushed to and past my limits of personal energy and time available. On top of everything I have already mentioned, the readings themselves are dated and slow-going. I know that they’re the accumulation of what humans have discovered from ancient times about mind mastery and I’m intensely grateful that I have the privilege of interacting with this priceless wisdom. But Emerson’s essays are long and in the language of another time; Haanel was a genius whose dense writing style we no longer see; Og Mandino speaks in flowery prose. You grab a dictionary and wade into the deep waters.
But also like the piano student, I am now dumbfounded, proud, and grateful for all I have been empowered to be and do over these months. Why? Because recently I’ve had four other classes to compare the Master Key Experience to. Like you probably, I’ve been doing classes like this at the beginning of the year for decades. You know what they’re like–presenters doing their best to be creative and compelling as they talk about mindset and the need to get out of our comfort zones. They give us assessments and lists of qualities every leader should have. We hear again about vision, goals, daily action steps, and rewards for doing all that well. We resolve to do better this year. We accept or don’t accept their offer for paid coaching packages. Two months later we’ve not changed much.
ONE: The eager young coach excited about her own journey did an excellent job in 4 hours, providing us with worksheets to prepare for her sessions and homework after–I was really impressed with her creative insights about what works during Covid challenge times. TWO: A team of 4 seasoned leaders did their best presentations over 3 hours, including a live interview of someone like us but had little interaction from the rest of us. THREE: Another seasoned coach associated with a large coaching franchise is doing 2 hours once a week for 4 weeks and getting engagement not only through the zoom chat but on-camera participant input. Still, its wordswordswords but not much direction about how to turn them into habits to turly improve your trajectory . FOUR: Two people started a club to study a book on Thoughtsmanship. Fifty people, strangers to each other, showed up and despite everyone’s best efforts the exchange was boring.
I looked at all of these trainings through new eyes. These presenters and what they taught were similar to what I’d heard year after year. As I had done in the past, other participants gave huge kudos and thanks and were grateful because they don’t know there is something else out there like the Master Key Experience for which they can earn a scholarship! This year I finally understand why I never got farther than I have in my business and in my personal life, though I’ve always taken excellent notes, and even improved slowly and steadily.
The compass of the Master Key Experience may be antique like the one pictured above, but it still works and works better than anything else I’ve done. The map may be worn with use over thousands of years and for the uninitiated look old-fashioned and inaccurate. But the Hero’s Journey has been the same for humans throughout our history and the map will get us each to where we want to go. What Mark and Davene Januszewski and their team have lived, reflected on, and created is so far superior to anything I’ve been offered all my life! The other classes are like easy piano teachers of easy piano pieces. In contrast, the Master Key Experience is giving me a guide to write and rewrite my vision as I learn in detail how and why to write it a specific way. I speak it aloud at least 3 times a day and put color and sound and shape to it to work my brain’s corpus callosum for greater impact. I have been taught how to effectively step into the shoes of Future Shirley with the confidence I was lacking, with habits I was lacking, and with the scientific understanding I was lacking. Most of all I was lacking an intense commitment to give it my best, and an intense and committed high-level Master Mind to learn with and from–including guides who have successfully completed parts of their own Hero’s Journey with proof that this compass and this map create authentic magic in lives willing to pay the price.
Haanel gives another reason for me to be grateful in the reading this week. I know I’m truly blessed to have found the Master Key Experience. I rededicate myself to THIS compass and THIS map!
…nothing can permanently stand in the way of your perfect success when you learn to apply the scientifically correct thought methods and principles. Realize that you are externalizing in your environment your inherent soul potencies. Realize that the Silence offers an ever-available and almost unlimited opportunity for awakening the highest conception of Truth. Try to comprehend that Omnipotence itself is absolute silence, all else is change, activity, limitation. Silent thought concentration is therefore the true method of reaching, awakening, and then expressing the wonderful potential power of the world within.Charles Haanel, Week 21, THE MASTER KEY EXPERIENCE