Learning from others who have achieved the kind of results you’re looking for is one of the wisest—and quickest—ways to hit the next level of success you’ve targeted. This crucial piece of the success puzzle catapults results to heights you could never achieve alone.
First: The Who
In the best scenario, you’ll seek the advice of a professional coach who will challenge and inspire you to be your best. You’ll also want one or more mentors who will give you the benefit of their wisdom and experience. You can always go to colleagues you trust and respect for advice, too.
At other times, you will hire people for expertise in their specialties, such as attorneys, certified public accountants or financial planners. And you can mine insights from books, videos and websites to gain the advantage of the study and experience of others.
But don’t forget about yourself. Reflect on moments in your life—both good and bad—to learn from and make better decisions based on your experiences.
As you think about these sources of advice, consider that many successful people are open-minded and use a mix of all six.
Roles and Relationships
Once you find advisers you trust, stick with them. Longevity provides a definite gain in efficiency and multiplies your ability to achieve your goals.
Before meeting with your advisers, determine your objectives and agenda. Send those goals to each adviser in advance. This gives them time to formulate responses and recommendations.
The Four-Step Process
1. Identify your issues and opportunities.
Look at where you are compared to where you want to be, and then list the issues keeping you from bridging that gap. (Your advisers may—and probably will—help you identify more issues than you can identify on your own.) Make a list of the opportunities available to you so you can seek input on how to move forward.
2. Determine your best resources.
Reflect on the six resources and determine the strongest one(s). If you are building your business or starting your career—or if you realize you need help in your personal life—be sure to invest time in studying as many resources as you can to make the best decisions.
Gather your options and then review the pros and cons. Consider the recommendations given to you and list any ideas or options you’ve identified from your resources and reflection. Then weigh all of the information you’ve gathered.
After careful consideration of your options, confidently choose your best path and go forward based on what your advisers recommend. By going through this process, your chances for success will skyrocket.
Another benefit of working with advisers is the spinoffs that can come from those relationships. All of your advisers, coaches, mentors and colleagues have their own sets of connections. Tap into them. They can become a multiplier for you.
For instance, as a natural extension of your relationship with your mentor, you might land a profitable business deal—either from the mentor or from one of his or her connections. Your advisers’ contact lists can become a gold mine of connections for you, and each one multiplies your opportunities.
Experience is the best teacher. A wise person listens to those who are willing to share their knowledge. The benefit of gaining wisdom from someone else’s experiences can make an amazing difference in your life.
Tony Jeary is an author, executive coach and presentation strategist. Jeary has published more than three dozen books about making presentations and strategic effectiveness. He coaches the world's top executives from companies such as Wal-Mart, Ford, New York Life and Texaco.