Seek Guidance by Looking Outward

If you don't know how to become the person you aspire to be, look for others to show the way.

“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” — J Loren Norris

Now that you have looked inward, it is time to validate what you think against people who are today, at this very moment, who you aspire to be. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I know anyone personally?

  • Can I get introduced to someone like that through a family member, friend or acquaintance?

  • Has anyone like that published a biography or authored works from which I can gain validation and insight?

Learning works best when you have a good example of what success looks like. The best teachers and coaches are practitioners who are capable of actually demonstrating the techniques and skills you need to develop.

For becoming a great writer, I couldn't find someone in my existing network. That was a bit depressing at first, but then I remembered a book I read recently. It was Atomic Habits by James Clear. I was fascinated with his style of writing. It was packed with value but so easy to read.

After a little searching, I found his website and a bunch of articles. I hit the jackpot:

That is just a few of the many resources I found online by Clear about his writing. I received instant validation about setting aside time to write, eliminating distractions, reading what interests me to generate ideas, working in public by generating content regularly and more!

Even better, I was exposed to other great writers and essayists with valuable lessons, best practices and common pitfalls to avoid. I was on my way.

You can do the same thing. One of the most rewarding aspects of reaching for your aspirations is the archaeological work you do along the way. It's like digging for buried treasure in a treasure-rich land.

While looking outward, keep one important point in mind. Your are seeking validation and guidance, not someone to copy wholesale. Your adventure will be unique. You must find your own voice and perspective. A good guide, teacher or mentor will understand this and provide the following value:

  • Support and encouragement when you need it most

  • Demonstrated skills and best practices

  • Lessons learned, including pitfalls to avoid

  • Access to other resources, including people