How To Copy Your Heroes

Look at their successes as well as their failures.
Copying your heroes isn't as difficult as it sounds. Just copy the best bits.
Copying your heroes isn't as difficult as it sounds. Just copy the best bits.

Hero-worshipping people whose lives and careers we admire can be a great guidance tool for those on the lower rungs of the ladder, no matter what industry you're hungry to succeed in.

Whether your 'hero' is an author, an entrepreneur or a dog groomer, there's always somebody whose journey you can study in a bid to mirror their achievements.

But, first, it's important to determine exactly why that person is your hero. Do you admire their style, their career path, their guts and determination -- or do you simply admire their fame or wealth? Once you've determined your reasons why you admire that person, take a long hard look at their misgivings too.

CEO of the Collective Hub Lisa Messenger told the Huffington Post Australia it is absolutely impossible to copy someone's success without looking at their failures.

"If I look at my own journey, I started the Collective in 2001, so it's a 15-year overnight success story. If people tried to achieve what I've achieved, it's practically impossible as I spent eleven years failing and not knowing what my purpose was," Messenger said.

"So all the things that got me to where I am today is mostly based on my own mindset and attitude. If you have a hero whose footsteps you'd like to follow, you should look at their attitude but look at their failures too and where you would do things differently."

Richard Branson & Lisa Messenger
Richard Branson & Lisa Messenger

As the Collective Hub is looking to grow its digital side, Messenger said she has spent a lot of time looking up to Vice.

"I've been watching every single Shane Smith talk I can find to gain valuable insights into what makes Vice so successful," she said.

"It started 22 years ago in Montreal as a 16-page print magazine and now it is a huge brand. I'm never going to be able to emulate what Vice has done, nor would I want to as we're a very different brand -- but I can look for similarities and failures."

"I can look at details such as at what point they gained investors and what were some of their massive learnings. I looked at other people who were very raw, brutally honest and authentic. But you're only ever going to hear snippets they give about what their massive learnings were.

"You need to look for the similarities but then look at the differences and see where you can do things bigger and better in a way that makes your uniqueness stand out."

Rowdy McLean, business and leadership consultant, told HuffPost Australia it's a good idea to not have too many heroes.

"You shouldn't be too 'wishy-washy' about the people you admire and why you feel connected to them," McLead said.

"When I first started public speaking, I loved Larry Winget; he was my role model for speaking. I bought all his books and, three years later, I was in his house drinking tequila!"

Try to narrow your list of heroes down to a select few, otherwise you'll only confuse yourself.
Try to narrow your list of heroes down to a select few, otherwise you'll only confuse yourself.

"But the reason I loved him was that I found a hero in a person who was successful in the same field as me, and that helped me refine my message in a similar way. But if you compare my talks to his, you'll see how different we are. So you have to find your own thing. You don't want to be a copy of the person you admire."

Lisa Messenger's Tips

  • When you look at your heroes, also look at the realities of business. There are struggles everyday with cash flow and HR and countless other issues.
  • If you only look at the successes, it will always be unattainable and you'll be left thinking 'I will never make it.'
  • Look at where your heroes had their struggles -- then you'll understand their journey and make it work for you.
  • Never try to be anybody else. Always be yourself. Take lessons from everywhere but adapt them to who you are.