When most of us think about career advancement, we focus on the tangible career milestones - promotions, projects, certifications, titles, raises, etc. And, in doing so, we overlook something very important: finding and surrounding ourselves with people who push us to succeed and encourage our personal and professional growth. How can you find these people? These guidelines should help:
- Think about the people who inspire you. These can be teachers, entrepreneurs or public figures. It may be someone whose work, character, or actions you admire, but find those specific people that move and inspire you.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out. Conferences are a great place to get inspired, approach, and start a relationship with some of the people you’ve identified. No matter how unreachable someone may seem, contacting them could be easier than you think.
- Diversify your contacts. You can achieve lots of healthy change through relationships within your own company. However, external contacts can potentially have the benefit of greater independence and a fresh perspective.
- Be candid about the reason for your interest. Most times, they will be excited to both inspire you and help you see how to close the gap between your dream and reality.
- Ask them about how to get started. They can offer invaluable advice and potentially put you in touch with their other connections that would benefit your purpose.
- Don’t hesitate to ask the truly big questions. What shall I do with my life? What really motivates me? What am I doing that I really don’t like to do? Engage with others while pondering these questions, and you may find answers that you otherwise would not have.
By proactively seeking out and cultivating relationships with those who inspire you, they can drive you to become the best version of yourself.