Why Copying Successful People Could Set You Back
Most advice is useless. It’s given by people who never tested or followed what they’re saying. Take all advice with a grain of salt, especially my own. I mean, let’s face it. I’m freaking living at home with my parents…
Now, the reason you’re here.
What successful people are doing is not helpful for you.
They spent years investing in themselves. They developed habits and systems to guide their success. They grew a powerful social network of people who push them further.
In each conversation, they’re learning more than you and I learned last month.
Some of them put together personal advisory boards for when they’re not operating at their best. Do you have a personal advisory board? That’s what I thought.
Insider tip: neither do I. Yet.
They’re also reading more, doing more, and failing more. They’ve got fail safes and checks for when they’re feeling down. Access to the best resources.
Copying what they’re doing can set you back.
Starting a company with venture capital. Writing a book within a week. Reading 4 books each week.
If you haven’t read a book for the past few months, chances are you won’t blast through one this afternoon. If you decide to take on one of these habits or projects, recognize it’ll take time to ramp up. Go easy on yourself when starting out.
Even better: do what they did when they started years and years ago.
Focus on people you look up to most. The ones who lead a life you admire. Pay attention to what they did when they had nothing. Take notes on their mindset. The actions they took. The story of how they started. Emulate THAT.
That’s how you take inspiration and turn it into daily action.
Shameless plug: my podcast does exactly that.
“But Sukhneet, they’re smarter than me. Have more resources than me. A better social circle than me.”
I know this, fool! Stop whining, and stop idolizing them. These are human beings we’re dealing with, dammit. They were in your situation at some point. Find out what that point was, and Copy. The. Shit. Outta what they did.
“But Sukhneeeeeeeeett, how do I find out? It seems so haaaarddd?” Quiet, fool!
The solution? Send them a short email and ask them.
Copy and paste this email to them:
Subject: Quick question about when you started your journey
“[FIRST NAME OF THE PERSON YOU’RE MINDLESSLY IDOLIZING],
Your work [BLOGGING, SPEAKING, ETC.] inspires me.
Reading your blog [or some other work], I started a podcast [or something else you did. 1 LINE!].
When starting your journey, what 1 habit contributed most to your success?”
This email does a few things.
The subject tells the person what your email is about. You say it’s a quick question, and when they open it up, it’s only 4 lines (+ your signature). Your email does what you said it would. This builds trust.
Notice it’s SHORT. The people you’re emailing value their limited time. They get a shit ton of emails. It’s refreshing to see a short email.
If they’re doing amazing work, chances are they want you to change in some way.
In 1 line, you’re specific about the work you admired. In line 2, you’re direct and specific about how it changed you. You demonstrate you’re someone who takes action. That’s one thing ALL mentors are looking for.
Btw, make sure you’re honest.
In the question, you reveal your interest in actionable advice (a habit). As you engage with successful people, you’ll notice an obsession with habits, psychology, and systems. That’s because that shit works. They’ve spent years thinking about how to improve themselves and their work. They’ll have a habit for you.
Change the email however suits you. As you send some out, you’ll notice ways you can improve it.
Some percentage of people will never get back to you. Maybe it got lost in their email. Maybe they can’t respond. Maybe they read it and forgot. You’ll need to send this to a few people before getting your first response.
For best results, do this practice once a day.
When you get a response, respond with a thank you email immediately. Make it short and reference what was insightful about their response.
Set a reminder in your calendar 1-3 months out. I don’t know what a good wait time is. Just pick one, dammit.
Implement the advice they gave you. When the reminder pops up, shoot them another email. Keep it short (no more than 5 lines). Be direct and specific about how you applied their advice.
This follow-up almost NEVER happens. By doing this, you’ll separate yourself from the pack and start developing a relationship.
Every few months send them a useful insight. An article or book related to their work. Connect them with other interesting and powerful people (ask permission first). Do some work that benefits them and send it their way, for free. Within a few emails, you’ll have a genuine relationship with someone you admire.
Now the fun part.
Drop whatever you’re doing and follow these steps (if you’re reading this you’re not doing anything important).
- Find the contact info of someone whose work you’ve been following
- Copy and paste the template above
- Edit as needed and send that sucka off!
When you get a response, leave a comment below with the habit they shared.
Just sent my email. Now it’s your turn. Get to failing.
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