Two posts in one month for strategy avenue, I must say is pretty good for me. Right now I've been taking some vacations, chilling out a bit before the big fall rush which always puts me a strategic mindset because I have time to breathe and think.
An email that came across my desk today really made me think. In this fast paced flurry of marketing emails, articles, features, news programs about the latest, greatest, newest, most successful... the biggest piece of advice I can provide to anyone looking to achieve their dreams is to watch who you follow. Keep an eye on where that person came from, what they are doing now and what they have accomplished in the past. Follow only those from whom you see consistency.
A positive example of this is my friend Sean Low's Business of Being Creative blog. Not only does he provide great content that every creative business owner should be reading, but he has the real experience to back it up. Before starting his blog he was president of one of the most recognized event design brands in the world, spearheading activities ranging from establishing international partnerships to creating internal financial processes. He is the real deal.
On the flip side, I receive a piece of marketing email spam almost daily from a woman-focused entrepreneur organization filled with rah-rah-go-girls go-us follow-your-dreams-you-all-you-need-is-hope-and-high-heels rhetoric. Upon a quick Google search one can discover that those involved at the leadership level have little experience running small business or tried uncessfully - therefore starting this venture instead. I find it a bit insulting that they believe women, so caught up in their own estrogen, would buy into it.
The bottom line is to watch who you follow, yes - you can't always know the behind the scenes of a business but I encourage you to use your gut feeling. If something seems too good to be true, don't be afraid to question it. For example, if someone is teaching how to get clients and you go to their blog and see no evidence of having clients (or ever having them in the past) - you might want to appreciate the positive things they offer but consider an additional source of information.
Mentors are wonderful people to have in your world, and it's wonderful to look up to those who you feel have achieved similar goes to the ones you would like to achieve. But ultimately, I believe you are fully capable of creating your own path taking snippets from those who have background and experience combined with your own personal talents and aspirations.