Learn from experience

Blog post 13When you’re trying to achieve something, do you reach out to someone who’s done it before? Or do you tend to go it alone?

I believe that when you’re trying to reach a goal, listening to the right mentors can make a huge difference. When I was in the military, I constantly listened to the stories of people who had more experience than me. Even when those stories didn’t seem relevant to anything I was going through at the time, I’d often find that I’d be able to apply pieces of what I’d learned later on. After all, there’s no substitute for experience, but listening to the people who already have it is a pretty good alternative.

One of my mentors, Orrin Woodward, used to tell me that it’s important for people to read, listen, and associate. We need to learn from our mentors, take it all in, and apply it to their lives. Because when we do this, we’re building an inventory of knowledge, which gives us something to draw on when things get tough. And Orrin didn’t just suggest I start reading–he set an example. Every time I see him, he makes new recommendations. And I’ve done everything I can to read the books he suggests. Sometimes I even read them more than once, knowing that I’ll learn more the second time around.

Reading books by leaders in your field is also important to your success. And when I say “reading”, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to pick up a book. You can also listen to audiobooks. In fact, that’s my preferred method of reading; whether I’m in my truck or my office, I’m constantly listening to something. Even when I’m working on something else, the CDs are still on in the background, and my mind is still absorbing plenty of new information. More than once, I’ve heard one of those great ideas come out of my mouth and I’ve found myself wondering, “where did that come from?”

Taking in this kind of advice can set you apart from the crowd when it comes to building your business. For example, a few years ago, I was mentoring a friend who had been experiencing some amazing success. I told him he should start reading. He resisted, forgetting that business is competitive.

Unfortunately, his competition was reading. And my friend started losing business to that other company. Why? Because reading not only gave the other business leader an edge, it also gave him access to the experience of other successful business owners. That mistake ended up setting my friend back by three or four years.

Remember a couple of posts ago, when I mentioned that if you start making the right choices on a regular basis, it’ll be easier to do it when things get hard? Reading and spending time with the right mentors is just a couple of those “right things” that will help you on your way.

11 thoughts on “Learn from experience

  1. Thanks Claude- because of the example of my mentors and coaches I’m becoming a better Leadership Reader!

  2. Read, listen & associate! There’s a lot of experience to gain with that recipe – choose wisely and you’ll be way ahead of the pack. Thanks Claude, we’re proud to be on your team!

  3. Awesome post Claude!
    I love how you are the biggest student, practicing what you’re traching. Reading, listening and associating in the right way has had a huge impact in my life and business. Thanks!

  4. Thanks Claude another great blog . it brings home the importance of Association
    Keep on blogging
    God Bless

  5. Thanks for another great article, Claude!

    We are so blessed to have so many fantastic leaders in our business, who are quick to share their experiences. Our mentors are always ready to suggest the best book to read, or CD to listen to, which is why this biz is the best ticket to success worldwide!

    Thanks for your continued leadership!

  6. When I first joined the leadership industry, and began reading and listening to good information, my partner really gave me a hard time. However, a couple of years later, he said, “Whatever they are teaching you, you keep learning it.”

    Reading and listening to good leadership information will quickly separate you from the pack.

    Great article.

    Thanks for leading.

  7. Great insight and info. Appreciate all your wisdom and knowledge and sharing it with all of us.


  8. Thanks Claude, for such a great reminder that no matter what we persue requires consistent effort and guidance for optimal success. It reminds me of something I’ve heard you say time and time again, that ” we can’t see the whole picture when we’re in the middle of it”. I love that we’re part of a business that provides coaching and mentoring to those who seek results and that our earning curve is directly related to our learning curve.

  9. Great blog Claude! Experience is a great teacher – preferably someone else’s! However, to take advantage of that, it means we have to be plugged into the right sources for picking it up. Thanks for leading from the front and being a great example to follow.

  10. Hey Claude, thanks for the great post. You mentioned that Orrin Woodward help you with which book to read next, I know you’ve done that for me and its helped 100 fold in business. Looking forward to your next post!

  11. Hi Claude!

    Great blog and topics!

    Association through a mentor or a book is so necessary. Consistency is the key to both not just when we think we need it. Resistance is our slow growth or lack of. Hopeful to get better at both! There’s always room for improvement.

    God Bless

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