Never give a party if you will be the most interesting person there. -- Mickey Friedman
Assess your current network and your mentors. Is it/are they good enough? Adding to and enhancing these resources is imperative. Never settle or get too settled with them. Is your network smarter than you?
Surround yourself with smarter and more successful people. Always play with better golfers and tennis players. Always hire people who have more potential or even experience than you do.
Hang around people who know different things and people.
Connect with the next level. The next level you envision for yourself. People who are "ahead" of you in skill, knowledge, confidence and/or career. What are their secrets? How did they get there? And what is it like to be there? Do you even want to be at that level?
When you stretch you will appreciate what you have to offer and that you are better than you think. But left to the devices of self loathing and doubt you will never know.
I have learned this a thousand times. To hang with people who are further along the path than me. It pulls me and pushes me. More often than not I learn I already have what it takes to be at the next level. And other times I see my gaps in their gory details. Either way it is an education on the path I desire.
Don't get me wrong I do not categorize and measure levels. I just know what I don't know. I know when I am reaching my level of incompetence. I know people who are smarter than me. Being around them gets me to ask better questions, hear about sources of knowledge, and talk about things that matter. There is always a next level.
To be mature is to seek assistance.
So every time I have parachuted into a new field, I ask as many people who I think know --"who are the top 5 leaders in this work I should meet? And who are the 5 I should avoid?" And everyone has a list. Everyone gives me names. Then I call up these first 5 and say "everyone" has recommended I meet you. And the person says like who? And then I tell them, they are impressed and often a little embarrassed. And I connect to the next level with confidence.
To understand where you are going, talk to people who are going that way.
Who are the top 5 teachers, salespeople, executive directors, managers, fundraisers, CFOs in your field or in the field you covet?
Who are people that are more advanced in your other interests, better golfers, better chefs, more expert wine enthusiasts, better parents, better travelers.....
I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. Groucho Marx
Join organizations, boards and clubs that have members who are next level.
So find people you think are further along your path. People who can teach you and stretch you. Not intimidating people who have rank and title, but people who will unwittingly or willingly show you the next level.
Thanks for reading. John