How to meet your hero

My childhood hero 'King Wally' Lewis

As a kid, my heroes were sporting stars like Wally Lewis, Keiran Perkins, Ian Healy & John Eales — and I eventually met them all!

Even as an adult, I still get a rush from meeting my heroes.

Now in my 30s, I am passionately involved in the world of business & the web, so I have a new host of people I admire.  They are my ‘aspirational contacts’.  In a moment, I’ll share how I’ve made contact with many of my heroes!

In the book Never Eat Alone, author Keith Ferrazzi advocates that it’s the relationships in your life that bring you the greatest happiness and success.  The quality (and extent) of your ‘network’ (even though I hate that word) is one of the most valuable things you can develop.

Keith certainly recommends always strengthening your closest relationships – family, friends & colleagues – but he also suggests putting yourself out on a limb to meet your heroes or “aspirational contacts”.  They might be influential politicians, business leaders, sporting legends or movie stars.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly especially the part of keeping a list of ‘aspirational contacts’. I keep a list of  heroes — people I’d love to meet in the business & web world.  In fact Keith Ferrazzi and Jack Daly recommend doing this. And Tim Ferriss suggests contacting them as a ‘comfort challenge’.  I’ve given it a go & this is what I’ve discovered works well.

How I’ve met my heroes:

First, I buy and read the hero’s book.  If they don’t have a book, I’ll follow their blog or keep an eye out for when they do something noteworthy & learn what I can.
Second, I blog about it.
Third, I try to make contact with the person (usually via email, but sometimes twitter). In the email I thank them for the writing such a good book & refer to the blog post where I share the insights I got from it.  Usually this is enough to get a response.
Fourth, if they are in Australia, I buy tickets to see them speak at an event. Or travel to see them.
Fifth, at the event I will introduce my myself and usually ask them to do an interview. I film the interview on my Flip camera & get permission to post to my blog.
Sixth, I follow up via email to say Thanks.
Seventh, once the interview is on my blog, I’ll email them to let them know. Very often they will promote the blog post to their contacts or followers!

I find if you make the effort to take an interest in what they do, they are much more receptive to being approached.

Buying their books, attending their events & promoting their cause never hurts either :).

This process has worked for me meeting CEOs, best selling authors, politicians, bloggers & international speakers.

On a side note, in the book Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi advocates just that.   Never eat alone or it’s a wasted opportunity to sit down with a friend, colleague, mentor or family member and enjoy a meal and a conversation.  The single best way to strengthen the relationships that are important to you is to dine with them!

And I totally agree. It’s your relationships with fellow humans that matter the most.

What techniques have you used to meet your heroes?

PS.  Never Eat Alone was another gem of a book recommended by Verne Harnish at 2010’s Sydney Growth Summit.

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