Provision #111: Master your Subject

LifeTrek Provision

With this LifeTrek Provision, Master your Subject, we bring to a close our series on changing your life. Six tips, six months, six steps and your life can be radically different than it is today. Your life may be just fine; in that case enjoy and savor the moment. Life cannot be always lived in the intensity of making a change. But each and every one of us reach points where change is not only indicated, it’s essential. When you reach that point, and you feel the urgency to make a change, review these tips • they can assist you to get where you want to go.

The last tip could well have been the first, but we wanted to communicate that mastering your subject is not just an intellectual pursuit. It’s not a mind game that we practice by gathering and reading a collection of good books on financial management or weight loss or quitting smoking or building loving relationships.

That is, in fact, the temptation: to not get started until we have it all figured out. Some of us want to master the subject in advance, as a prerequisite, and we never get around to making the change itself. We end up being highly educated but unchanged souls. Mastering your subject can become a hindrance rather than a help.

After the other five tips are put into practice, however, somewhere along the way you will want to start reading and listening to material on the project at hand. No one can figure things out all by themselves. That’s why people retain coaches! But coaches do not have all the answers; instead, they ask questions and make recommendations to assist people on the journey of personal and professional change. In our coaching, this often takes the form of recommending appropriate reading and listening material.

As you get into the dynamic of change, make it your goal to become a resident expert in your area of interest. This has several advantages. First, it bolsters and intensifies the change itself. The more you know about what you’re trying to do, the more you can experiment and grow. You may only get one good idea out of a book or tape, but that one good idea, put into practice, can mean the difference between success and failure.

Another advantage to becoming a resident expert is that people will start seeking you out on the subject for information, advice, and support. This process of becoming an informal consultant also serves to strengthen your resolve and to encourage your continued progress on the path of personal and professional change. Tutors have long understood this dynamic. Want to master your subject? Don’t just learn it • teach it!

What a difference it makes, for example, to read these LifeTrek Provisions with the idea that you’re going to have to repeat them to someone else. You read them in a totally different way. If tomorrow morning you had to stand up in front of a group of people to speak on the subject “Six Steps to Changing your Life,” you would pay attention to these six tips in a totally different way. You would take notes. You would put them into your own words, change them, and expand upon them. You would own them as a resident expert.

That’s what we mean by mastering your subject. Don’t just take it all in like a sponge; start spitting it out in one way or another. Write a book. Make a tape. Tell a friend. Lead a class. Figure out some way to share what you know with others. This will take your personal or professional change to new heights.

Human beings are not limited to learning from our own mistakes. We can learn from the mistakes of others. By reading and listening to relevant material and by sharing what we know with others we participate in the project that makes us truly human • knowledge transfer. In so doing we change our life for good.

That, in the end, is the point of all personal or professional change projects. To reach the day when the change is the new norm, so much a part of who we are that we no longer have to think about it or work at it. It flows naturally from the new wells we’ve dug in our soul. It is not impossible to reach this point. On the contrary, there is a source inside that’s dying to bubble up in springs of living water. We just have drill down until we reach that source.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of

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