In school, an independent study is a way for students to learn what they want to learn even if it isn’t in the course catalog. Done well, it can be the launching pad to a student’s true calling, because for once the student gets to choose the content and explore what’s available an area that piques his or her interest. And even though independent study students are pursuing their own interests, they get credit for the effort. What a deal.
Have you thought about taking an independent study lately? It can be a fast and easy way to teach yourself the skills you most need to learn to be successful, in any area of your life and leadership.
You do your independent study in three steps, each of which starts with the letter A – the grade you’re going to earn in this class of your own.
- Assess Your Options. What do you need to learn now?
- Adopt a Topic. Of the options, which one will get you the most powerful results?
- Activate the Learning. How could you learn about this topic independently, in your own way and on your own time, so that it is most effective and valuable to you?
In your independent study, you get to be a student again in the best sense of the word. No course requirements, no class schedules, and no final exams – just the chance to be new and green, seeing what there is to learn about something you want to know.
To really be strategic, make sure whatever you choose to focus on in your independent study is the area in which one big hit that will create the breakthrough.
Keep Learning is one of the ten practices I recommend for highly talented leaders in the book, The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership. To learn more, go to www.TheInnerEdge.com. You’ll find an overview of the book, endorsements by such thought leaders as Marshall Goldsmith and Stephen Covey, and more.
How will you keep learning what you most need to be your best as a leader, and in your life?