Learn from leaders

One of the best ways to evolve in your career (and in life for that matter) is to learn from people's mistakes. I'd add to that, sometimes, learning what people did right and being able to replicate it is something that also accelerates growth.

Having a list of questions in your mind is also something important. You never know when you'll be face to face with a guru or some role model. You'll have a very short window of time with them, and if you manage to retain their attention with intelligent and provocative questions, you'll probably manage to get good insights. What you don't want is to manage to talk to your idol and ask him about the weather.

Here are some questions I've picked up over the years; they are questions I have asked people and some questions I have been asked.

  1. What is the one thing in your daily routine that has changed your life for the better?
  2. What in your daily routine do you wish you'd have started sooner?
  3. What is the thing that people always say is important that I should not loose my time worrying about?
  4. What are the biggest struggles you face today? Is there anything I can do now to prepare for them in the future?
  5. What was that thing that you wish you had known in the past that would have made your life all that much easier?
  6. What "general knowledge" did you have that was completely useless and that you had to re-learn?
  7. How do you go about creating high-quality relationships? Where do you meet these people?
  8. What was your biggest career screw-up and what did you learn from it?
  9. How do you keep yourself motivated when things are going all wrong?

One last thing; don't memorize this list and spit it out. Use it in a context that makes sense. Adapt the questions to suit your needs and the conversation you are in. Use them as a guide.