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When the shoe fits

by Randall Craig on February 26, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , ,

One of the most effective ways that we learn is by observing, and interacting, with those around us. We look at those who have developed great careers, and assume that if we only follow their advice – and do what they do – then we will also develop a career like theirs. We look at people who have excelled in the arts or sports, or who have distinguished themselves through community service, and also reason that if we only follow their path, then we will reach the same zenith. The same applies to just about any other endeavor.

In all of these cases, we look to these people as models (and mentors), learning from what they are doing in order to achieve the same outcome for ourselves. Unfortunately, there is a problem: each of these “great” models is not us. They have different backgrounds, education, age, interests, personal priorities, and professional goals. Sure, we can learn from them – and we should – but blindly doing what they are doing is not always the quickest path. They are not you.

And what to do when two of your models give you conflicting advice, or have followed different paths to get to the same end result? It is precisely because of their differences that they were able to find the precise – and different – path to their success. So it is expected that their advice to you will be different – since it comes from a different experience base.

This week’s action item: Take what you can from the advice that your models give you, swill it around until it makes sense to you, and then translate it into action. Only you can determine how the shoe fits.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)