Someone once told me that reading What Kids Need was like having a chance to have a cup of coffee with some very successful people and ask them how they learned their life lessons.
Besides being a neat compliment, that comment got me thinking about successful people I’d like to meet. Since I’m not always able to snap my fingers and get ‘up close and personal’ with people I’d like to meet, I read about them. I watch movies based on true stories. I subscribe to some blogs and lists that inspire, provoke or intrigue me.
I have heard a number of good speakers talk about convening an ‘advisory council’ in their minds. I like this technique. I’ve heard it recommended it as part of a creative process like goal-setting and problem-solving. I’ve taught it to people in workshops who say they want help staying motivated to achieve something important in their lives.
Who are people –living or dead — that you admire? If you could sit with them, away from crowds and lights and media, what would you ask? What advice do you think they would offer you, either in general or regarding a specific situation? When you picture yourself getting their advice, is it in a one-to-one conversation? Or, do you all sit down around a meeting table and hash things out?
Some people are able to visualize lively discussions with Abe Lincoln taking one point of view and Susan Boyle representing another. They find it a helpful way to challenge their own thoughts about a plan or a decision.
If that doesn’t come across as well in a blog as it does in person (and I understand it might not) you might want to ask yourself what you are doing to expand your thinking. Picturing conversations with well-known people and reading biographies is one way…. but there are many others. Travel (even exploring local resources) is one way. Trying something new, with or without taking a course, is another.
Other people can change our thoughts. And no matter how good I think they are, my thoughts usually have room for improvement. I never know who is going to make them better — or how I’ll get to ‘meet’ them.