If you want to be great…take advice from someone great.
Michael Jordan is one of the most iconic basketball players of all time. There have been, and there will continue to be arguments about who is the greatest of all time, but there was no question in the 1990’s. Growing up, Magic Johnson was a unicorn, Larry Bird was pure, but Michael Jordan was in a league of his own.
He was the GOAT before we knew about being a GOAT.
In 1991, Gatorade created a marketing campaign around Michael Jordan. The advertisement showed some of Jordan’s greatest NBA moves and shots and then children attempting similar moves…down to Michael’s famous tongue. The television commercial ended with a Gatorade logo and the simple phrase – “Be like Mike.”
Everyone wanted to be like Michael Jordan. He was the best basketball player in the world. Michael was rich. He was famous. He dressed great. Everything about Michael Jordan – on and off the court – was smooth. Everyone wanted to be like Michael Jordan. Gatorade masterfully tapped into that desire.
Who do you want to be like?
Have you given that question any thought in the past week, month or year?
Ask any kid on the planet, and they’ll have an answer for you. They may want to be like a sports star, internet personality, a family member or important adult in their life. A child will immediately have a person in mind if you ask, “Who do you want to be like?”
We lose this desire as adults, and it’s a mistake.
So, let me ask again, who do you want to be like? Is is a business leader? Maybe you want to be like a community member? It could be a fellow church member? Who do you want to be like?
I had this thought recently,
You can’t be like someone if you don’t know who you want to be like though. Who do you want to be like?
How to become great
Okay, you’ve got the person in mind, now it’s time to get some advice from them. What I love about this question in 2021 is almost anyone can get advice from anyone they admire. If you know about them, you can find them for a personal conversation, listen to a podcast with them, read a book or article about or by them, or find them in another interview format.
Now that you know who you want to be like, and you’ve found where you can find them, it’s time to begin taking advice from them. This is how we become great. We look at people we consider great, and we learn from them.
If you want to be great, here are three things you can do to take advice from the person you want to be like.
1. Spend time with them.
If you want to be like someone, you need to spend the most time you can with that person. There is an osmosis effect to relationships. After living with my wife for over 25 years, we are much more alike than we are different. That wasn’t the case as young twenty somethings.
If you are able to personally spend time with the person you want to be like, take as much time as you can. Be respectful, but be around them. This may take years, but be with them.
If you don’t know the person, and you can’t meet with them, then find them everywhere possible. Listen to their podcast, but also read their books. Read their books, but also find other interviews with them. Watch their interviews, but also read the backlog of their blog posts.
2. Listen to them.
This sounds obvious, but is so often overlooked. We finally get the chance to be with that person we want to be like, and we talk. It’s time to stop and listen. Now is the time to find out not just what they’ve done, but why they did it. You now have the opportunity to know the thought process behind their decisions!
The only way to get advise on what to do when you are in the same situation, is to listen to why they did what they did. If you have the opportunity to personally meet, make sure to ask questions and then shut up. Hear not only their answer, but listen for what is behind the answer. Listen for attitudes, principles and values.
3. Pay attention to them.
Many people can’t clearly articulate the principles behind their actions. However, if you pay attention, you’ll begin to see what a person really values and believes. What patterns do you see in their actions? You’ll see this in both positive and negative aspects of their decisions.
You can find these over the course of time. It might be by researching the things they’ve done in the past (ask if you have them in person). It could be simply seeing them over the course of time. Observing what works and what doesn’t work for them.
It’s more than great. It’s growth.
If you do all three of these things, you may feel like you are becoming their stalker, but you will slowly become like your mentor as you pay attention to the little things they do.
I want to be great, but more importantly, I want to grow. The more I grow, the better chance I have of being great.
By employing these things in my life both with people I know personally and those who I see only from far off, I’ve grown. I’ve grown as a leader, as a parent, as a husband. You will grow to as you intentionally begin to seek advice from who you want to be like.
So I’ll ask again…Who do you want to be like? Take advise from them.