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To Succeed, Learn From Those Around You

Posted on 6.30.2013

The staff here at Website Magazine is made up of a disparate group of individuals who have backgrounds in a wide variety of media-related fields. From public relations and Web marketing to broadcast and newspapers, and even some experience as a Price is Right contestant, everyone here brings something unique and interesting to the table.

When I got out of college, I worked at my local newspaper for a few months (the smallest daily publication in Indiana) before being hired on at the fine publication you’re currently reading. So, despite the fact that Peter, our editor-in-chief, had faith in me (for some reason), I certainly had a lot to learn in a short amount of time about the Web industry, about the professional publishing world and about myself.

Although I arrived with plenty of swagger and confidence in my abilities, the very first thing I had to learn was to break all of that down and just accept that there was a lot I didn’t know, and simply pretending like I did wasn’t going to cut the mustard, as they say. Luckily, my second major lesson was the one that would help me grow from an overconfident youngster into something actually resembling a professional.

What I found was that the real key to success in whatever industry you happen to be in is to find a support system of knowledgeable, capable, helpful and kind people that have already found their own success in the field and are willing to share their insights with you. So, stop, look around, be willing to admit you don’t know everything and listen to those who possibly do — like I did.

At Website Magazine, it’s no secret that Peter is the ringleader and a verifiable genius about all things Web. But what really makes Pete a great leader and mentor isn’t just how talented or knowledgeable he is, but it’s his willingness to set aside time in his always-busy day to talk with us all about our work and his readiness to teach us a lesson about something we were once unfamiliar with or unsure of. To say that his influence on me over the last two years has been invaluable would be selling it short.

And likewise, working with people like Amberly (our managing editor) and Allison (my fellow associate editor) has challenged what I thought I knew about being a professional journalist, and for completely different reasons. Amberly’s consistently professional and highly organized approach to her work is a something to marvel at, and her ability to maintain her calm under intense pressure kind of baffles me. Meanwhile, Allison’s constant creative energy, animated personality and great sense of humor showed me that there are always more than one way to approach a project, and that sometimes (usually) my own narrow thinking wasn’t going to be the best one.

In the broader business world, we usually call this networking, and there are plenty of ways to go about doing it. From meeting other professionals at trade shows to communicating via online forums or message boards to contacting people you admire via good old-fashioned email and phone, there are plenty of ways to put yourself out there and connect with thought leaders.

So, if you want to succeed, don’t be too timid to ask for advice, help or feedback from people who know what they’re talking about, because we all have different backgrounds and experiences that may just be the key to solving someone else’s problem, and without just asking, there’s no way we would ever even know it. And, wherever you go in life the people, or rather the qualities they possesses, will go with you.

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