“People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.”
Choose Role Models Within Your Business Path
Asking for help or advice isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. And most business leaders, by the nature of their leadership, are generous in giving advice to others following in their path. As for a beginner in the business, the truly wise can learn from other people’s mistakes, successes, and experiences and save themselves valuable time and energy by following good advice and stellar example.
Not only can you benefit from their advice and mentorship, they may very well introduce you to other good contacts in the industry and provide a path for you to follow. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and we all need role models — so choose someone you admire, and explore the possibilities.
Even if you can’t access the heroes you want to in person, you may be able to at least meet them at industry conferences and events — go up and talk to them. They are just human beings, after all, so treat them like you would want to be treated. Tell them specifically what you admire about their work, or ask an intelligent question if you have the opportunity. Reading about them on their websites or in magazines or biographies can be useful, too. You’re looking for those little nuggets of hard-won knowledge that can help you along your path, or give you goals and examples.
Copying others isn’t a bad thing. Forget that saying “don’t be a copycat”, there are times when it is entirely appropriate. Besides, you won’t be a copycat because your job is to be uniquely you. It’s okay to get a little help and inspiration along the way; you’re still the one that’s going to be putting in all the work. But, if you’re lucky enough to build a solid regular mentorship with a leader in the industry, you’ll have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who is cheering for you, and someone who can encourage you and keep you accountable to your own goals.