Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Eight Stages of Life

Our eight stages help you manage your job, career or business by describing the major focus of each stage. Knowing what to expect can help you identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls.

Stage One: Exploring

In this first stage, you are busy exploring many ideas about life and work. You usually start this stage in childhood and it accelerates during adolescence. Often this stage is marked by experimenting with life styles, values and methods of self expression. You are trying to define who you are and who you are not. Key activities include discovering what you are naturally great at, finding (and discarding) role models and learning what you love and hate.

All these help you identify interesting work (or ideally the ingredients of the work you love).

Stage Two: Focusing

The second stage is entered when you are ready to start seriously focusing on the best ideas you discovered while exploring. This happens naturally as teenagers start to show preferences for school subjects, after school activities and hobbies. Focusing continues throughout high school and into college as students pick majors or choose a vocational program.

The major career activity is gaining the knowledge and skills to be offered an entry level job in your dream profession or trade, or to become and entrepreneur and start your own dream business.

Stage Three: Working

The Working Stage begins when you complete your full time studies and start working. With your first adult or full time job, you take on the adult responsibilities of supporting yourself and your family. Your basic job skills come from what you learned during the Focusing stage and what you learn on the job. To gain additional skills, knowledge and experience, you may move around within a company or industry.

In the beginning, your major focus is on learning the ropes and earning a paycheck. Over time, however, the emphasis shifts to increasing the size of your paycheck, benefits and responsibility. Many people decide (consciously or unconsciously) to remain in this stage for the rest of their life.

Stage Four: Excelling

If you choose to move to this fourth stage, your attention shifts from earning paychecks and promotions to excelling at what you do. Achieving great results takes center stage, driven by an emphasis on developing and using your skills and knowledge.

The benefits of excelling at your work bring great performance reviews, larger paychecks, and more career opportunities. It also opens up the possibility of moving into the next stage.

Stage Five: Mastering

Few people move into the fifth stage of Mastering. Here your focus shifts from achieving excellent results to understanding and mastering the work process itself. In this stage, the work and worker blend together and extraordinary results flow with a minimum of effort. At this level, personal skills, materials, tools, methods and the environment are all mastered.

Stage Six: Transcending

In this rare sixth stage, your focus shifts to harmonizing with the underlying creative process and principles. Using the extraordinary knowledge and experience you have acquired, you can bend, break and transcend the accepted rules. Often you produce original and unique results that defy popular beliefs of what is possible.

Stage Seven: Life Calling

A life calling often defines or redefines your life's work. Your calling can range from having a vague sense there is something you must do to envisioning clearly what you want to accomplish.

A life calling can come at any time, causing your perspective to undergo a mild to radical shift. It can be heralded by a loss, a life crisis or a series of noteworthy events. Often this stage prepares you to enter the Re-genesis stage.

Stage Zero: Re-genesis

On rare occasions, a person will reach the end of a life or work cycle before they run out of life force. The zero stage of Re-genesis is the process of undergoing a fundamental life transformation. Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, you emerge transfigured. A new and different life awaits to be discovered. To understanding it, you must start again by entering a new Exploring stage.


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