Step 3STUDY: Lay Your Groundwork

The figure shows the third step of the Blueprint process, which is as follows:
1. Study: What leadership lessons, beyond my own experiences, can I learn from the world around me?

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

After I lost my job, I felt stuck. My mentor Neil MacKenna helped me to connect with who I really was, to reflect on my life experiences, as I struggled to find my footing on my job search. A lot of the things Neil asked me to do, like writing my life story, and building a network, did not come naturally to me but I did them anyway, because I was motivated by the urgency of needing to find work. That same urgency helped me to understand the importance of Study for the first time.

I’ve always loved books, particularly ones about interesting people. But all my professional life, up until the point where I was unexpectedly fired, I’d thought of reading as more of a leisure activity. Whatever captured my attention in life dictated what I would read about: Growing up in Illinois, I became fascinated with Abraham Lincoln and I read all about him. As my love for tennis developed in my youth, I read about the great players who shaped the sport. As a political science major in college, I read about American presidents and world leaders. And as I pursued my MBA, I was drawn to books about renowned business leaders.

But as an adult, there was little rhyme or reason to my pursuit of knowledge outside of work; if a book or concept struck my fancy, I might ...

Get The Blueprint now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.