There’s a great quote by Thomas Jefferson – “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” There’s no question that an individual’s success is directly proportional to the amount of work he (she) puts in. But hard work alone can be a slow and painful process to achieving your goals. One way to dramatically accelerate your success is to find a person or people who have already achieved success, and learn how they got there.
Pick somebody that is in a position that you might aspire to in 5 years or 10 years. Maybe it’s a CEO, a school principal, a director, etc. Do your research to get his contact information, then call them up and ask if you can have 20 minutes of his time. Explain that you’re not trying to sell something, but you’re hoping to pick his brains on a few things.
You will be astounded at how readily most people in senior positions will give up their time for you. Most of these individuals vividly remember what it’s like to get where they are, and many actually appreciate the opportunity to provide someone with guidance.
When you get your first meeting, make sure you’re absolutely and completely prepared. Learn as much as you can about this person and the organization he is working for. Have a list of specific questions regarding the skills you need to have, the people you need to know, and the types of challenges you need to overcome along the way. At the end of the meeting, ask him if it’s okay if you contact him for 15 minutes once a month or so. If he perceives you as being bright, motivated, and well prepared, you’ll almost always get it.