Many people are wondering how to become successful, regardless of how they define success. For some, success is about money. For others it is about making a difference in the lives of many. For others it is inventing something new. Regardless of what success is for you, there is one thing you can do to increase your chances of becoming successful – follow the steps of someone who has what you want to have, who achieved what you want to achieve, who got where you want to be.
Imagine that you are standing near a mountain, and you look up and see someone climbing who is very close to the top, or maybe someone who is already on the top of the mountain. Would you follow his steps and take the same path if you want to get to the same place? The answer is yes. While sometimes your circumstances may be different from the circumstances that this other person faced, knowing what route to take or not to take will only improve your journey.
Think of it as a research project – what steps did this person take to get there? How exactly did he/she do it? The more details you know, the higher are your chances to succeed should you face similar circumstances, assuming you have similar skills. For example, if you dream about becoming a project manager and you know someone who is a project manager, who is good at his job and who became one while being relatively young – you are lucky. You are lucky because you have located your “role model”. The next steps are to do your research and find out as much as you can, and then see what tactics or resources you can also use.
This is the type of information you should look for:
- professional background – what experience does the subject have?
- did he/she do any volunteer work or join any particular association or group?
- what skills does he/she have? What skills do you think helped this person land the dream job? What skills make him/her special?
- what are his/her interests? What events does he/she usually go to? What people can one meet at these events to network?
- what people does he/she have in his/her network circle?
- what do you think led him/her to this job? For example, did he/she lead any high profile projects that received a lot of coverage? If yes, how did his/her manager let him/her lead these projects? What characteristic or skill did he/she demonstrate to the manager?
- how about tools and resources that he/she uses? What blogs does he/she follow, books does he/she read?
These are just some questions that you need to answer to understand what it takes to be where you want to be. Given that the internet literally opens access to information, most of these things can be found online using LinkedIn or other platforms.
However the best way to find out about this person is to actually take him/her for coffee and interview. If you choose to do that, make sure to introduce yourself first, explain the reason for the “stalking” (e. g. you are looking for a guidance or a mentor), and think about what it is that you can offer back. I highly recommend reading a book called Never Eat Alone where the author gives a step-by-step instructions for doing cold calls. One of the suggestions involved refering to someone you both know so you do not sound like a stranger. LinkedIn and even facebook both do a good job in showing common contacts.
These are just one of many steps you can take to succeed but I would highly recommend to do that to understand what experience, skills or networks you need to develop if you want to be where this person is. Replace jealousy with curiosity and you will see the positive results!