Seek Someone Who Has Been There

Have you ever started a new undertaking and quickly realized, “I’m really not sure what to do first… next… at all”?

I’m glad I’m not the only one!

Whenever we feel like this, I think the best thing we can do is to seek out someone who has already been where we currently want to go, and ask them questions about their experience.

The unknown can be a scary place that keeps us from new experiences or reaching new heights.  However, when we hear someone tell us about how they navigated a path that is currently before us, somehow it seems less mysterious.  We begin to see our own journey take shape.  We’re able to see the steps required, as well as potential pitfalls to be avoided.

If you’re starting down a new and uncertain path, and you’re not sure what the journey looks like, find someone who has already traveled down that road and task them to tell you about their journey.  Not only will you gain valuable insight from their experience; they’ll very likely be eager to share with you what they’ve learned.

Connect Around a Common Interest

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

~Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

I had 2 opportunities this week to talk with people who were as excited as I was about a common topic.  The first opportunity centered on a software tool called QlikView.  The other was around the area of personal development.

In both cases, there was an excitement as we discussed our common interest.  Ideas were shared, questions were asked and answered, problems and setbacks were discussed, and suggestions for improvement were provided.   I loved the exchanged because I felt like I was not only heard, but I got to give value to the other people, as well as receiving value from them in return.  Those exchanges were highlights of my week.

It reminds me how important it is to spend time with people who are on the same path as me, in an area where I want to improve.  Some of the benefits of doing so include:

  • Being exposed to new thoughts, concepts, and ideas
  • Deepening your understanding of the topic
  • Sharing what you’ve learned with others
  • Being able to ask questions to someone who can potentially help you or point you in the right direction
  • Making connections with people who share a common interest
  • Increasing your network
  • Hearing what other people are working on, struggling with, or discovering in the same area as you
  • Feeling like you’re on a journey with others instead of being isolated and traveling alone

Those conversations this week were very rewarding, and left me wanting more interactions just like those.  I’ll certainly be looking for similar opportunities, only at a higher frequency per week.

Be on the lookout starting today for opportunities to connect with others around a common interest.  Not only will you have fun discussing it with someone else, you just may have the knowledge and experience someone else needs to hear in order to get unstuck.