Mastery is the Bronze Medal

Inspired by a lecture from Sarah Lewis, author of The Rise, a friend shared with me a new view of mastery. Mastery is not success, but as Ms. Lewis offers, a confident pursuit. The attainment of the Gold medal does not represent mastery; it indicates success. Nor is mastery the discomfort of the Silver medal. Mastery is the bonanza of Bronze! Let me elaborate.

Gold medalists claim a conclusion of the best, in this moment. Where do you go from here when it is deemed there is no place to go? What’s next? Michael Phelps kept his Gold medals – all 18 of them at the time – stuffed in a random plastic bag. Some might consider this humility; I call it confused limbo. Where was his edge? Silver medalists are frustrated winners; watch any video of these athletes at the podium. They just missed first place, perhaps by nano-seconds. Second place is rarely remembered and catalyzes many to try again for the first place win. However, Bronze medalists are happy just to receive a medal. They live in the game of life, in what’s next, on the edge of mastery.

Mastery is not a conclusion. It is a way of living. It is riding the edge of life – just there – nudging toward growth, opening the space a few more cracks, seeing and sensing more, and generating new edges.

Mastery lives in the body. Of course it does! Mastery is pin-pointed eagle focus and panorama awareness. Our body caresses the moment with wisdom, allowing us to meet it with keen focus within the vast landscape. In this way, mastery never ends but only keeps moving with the expansion and contractions of life. We breathe out and we breathe in. We cry and we laugh. We move forward. We turn right. We stop. We hop and wiggle and jiggle.

The lineage of near-wins is how the conductor, Ben Zander, describes mastery. Near- wins generate a timeless motivation to stay in the fire and water and wind of life. “Ever… onward… almost… reaching, rather than arriving.” Living in the where you are and not the where you want to be. Athletes are a clear example of near-wins and mastery. But, whether you are an athlete or not, what does timeless motivation look like for you? Sense into your body for mastery space to cultivate new mastery muscles.

Money mastery is a worthy aspiration. Also never-ending, the continuous movement of near-wins is living right now, on the edge of wealth. For some, living on the edge may seem too risky and uncomfortable – not at all how one would want money mastery to manifest. So let’s look closer, using the Olympic medals as our guide.

The Gold minimizes the truth of our existence. It’s like winning the lottery or cashing out of a steep run in a concentrated stock position. The edge to ride is buried when there’s way more than enough. You may desire a lottery winning; but look at the statistics of lottery winners. Most lottery winners end up right back where they started with significant pain and suffering in between. The Silver is anxious and worries about the future: over-planning, trying harder, second-guessing and building up for the unknown. Neither the Gold nor Silver medals allow us to be here now.

The Bronze, reflecting Money Mastery, is a powerful practice in trust. Trust in self – I am capable and competent. Trust in the unfolding of events – I am in the right place at the right time. Trust in motivation and intentional decisions – I navigate dynamically by making clear decisions as new information comes available. There is a difference between the Silver: financial decisions chasing a belief of missing out, as compared to a broader Bronze confidence: investing and making changes based upon new information, personal aspirations, economic forces, values shifting.

Money Mastery requires us to include our body wisdom. The Gold and the Silver medals bypass the body. The Gold stays in euphoria and unenlightened bliss, which feels really good, but it might be ignorance or delusion. No need to pay attention, I can do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want. That is, until something happens. (The market drops. The next Madoff erupts. You lose a loved one. Or, perhaps, you realize that wealth is more than money.)

The Silver ruminates in the head full of doubt, trying to figure out a solution. Working really hard. Following a plan, doing well, but never quite satisfied. There remains, always, a lingering question, should I be doing something else? Is this good enough?

The Bronze stays in the body. Open – to all arising phenomena. Enjoying money in every way possible: receiving money, earning money, spending money, saving money, giving money, investing money – and this makes all the difference. Money mastery recognizes that there is no final attainment of a number (net worth, earnings, homes, cars, chattel). Money mastery skillfully creates a plan and maps the territory. And, money mastery moves along the map, changing as new situations arise. Money mastery rides on the edge of sufficiency. Money mastery is generous. Money mastery connects the head and the belly through the heart.

Yes, we can say the aim of Somatic Finance™ is the embodiment of money mastery.

How are you mastering money?
What ways do you live on the leading edge?
Where are you called to live more on the edge?
Where in your body do you notice resistance to that calling?
Stay, here, riding the resistance.
Allow your body wisdom to release resistance.
Notice your mastery beginning to grow.