Friday, August 7, 2009

A Practical Guide to Studentship: Part II

In our last installment, we defined what we mean by studentship and how we are going to measure studentship. Also, we received an assignment to determine an area in which we would like to develop our studentship. Assuming you've determined that area, let's move on to the next step.

Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish"

Building Vision
An essential skill of any great student is the ability to create, develop, refine and sustain vision. Why is this important? A clear and specific vision of what you want to learn and who you want to become enables you to chart the best course to where you're going, make decisions as to what's important and what's not, and sustain you when the going gets tough.

For example, if you want to become a great runner, having a strong vision of running with strength and agility across Colorado Rockies can help you when it's time to get on the treadmill at 6AM. A strong vision of millions of people reading, enjoying and discussing your book can help you to break through writer's block. Seeing yourself on stage, accompanying yourself on guitar in front of thousands of people, can help you get past the stage where your fingers simply won't do what you're asking them to do.

Making It Vivid
To make vision effective, it's important to make it vivid with clarity and specificity.

Consider the skill set you want to acquire or develop. Now, picture yourself in full mastery of that skill set. What does it look like?

For example, if you want to become a musician, what does it look like when you succeed? Are you a singer or do you play an instrument? What instrument do you play? What type of music do you sing? What songs do you play? Where do you play? In coffee shops? In large arenas? What type of audiences come to hear you? Are you recording albums? Are you writing original music?

Play with it. Enjoy the process! Make your vision big, clear and specific.

Perhaps you want to be an Microsoft Excel wizard? Yes, you can create a vision for that! What does it look like to be an Excel wizard? Where and how do you use your skills? What kinds of applications are you supporting? Are you working for a large company or a small one? Are you a specialist called in on high priority projects? What does it feel like to be recognized as an expert? What are the benefits of your expertise? Who do you help? Can you see the smiles on their faces when you solve their problems?

Again, make it big, clear and specific.

Regardless of what it is that you want to learn, the key to vision is clarity, specificity and making it as big as possible. If you want to paint, then play it all the way out to the opening of your first exhibit. If you want to write, then play it out to the publication of your first article or book.

Identifying Your Heroes
A great way to make your vision more concrete is to identify people who represent what you want to become. Ideally, you want to pick someone whom you know and have access to. If there's no one like that around, then pick someone whom you can study beyond the actual skills you want to acquire: someone about whose life and personality you can learn.

Once you've identified someone on whom to model yourself, study them. If they're someone you know, ask them questions about what they do and how they do it. Ask them questions about what motivates them. Ask them questions about they're learning process and studentship. Ask them about the times they felt like quitting. What did they do? How did they break through?

If it's someone you don't have access to, then google them! Read books and articles about them. Study their work.

Bring to life the person or people who best represent who you want to become.

Your homework assignment is to create a vision for yourself based on what you want to accomplish. Create your vision in as big and as concrete a way as possible.

Play with it. Write it down. Refine it. Share it with friends. Throw the whole thing out and start again. Identify heroes and bring your vision to life. Most of all, delight in the process!

In our next installment, we'll talk about translating vision into a practical action plan.


  1. Thanks! Creating a clear vision has been really important in my journey, and I would love to be more intentional and persistent with visualizing what I want. I don't usually play my vision out as big as it can be. Thanks for the encouragement to do that! Also a great note to me to help the kids practice making their vision clear.

  2. Hi Faith,
    Thank you for your comment and thank you for mentioning your kids in this context. Although, I'd originally thought of this series in regard to adults, I believe that the application is age independent. I'll remember to use examples that are more inclusive.


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