Ways to Distinguish Yourself #213 – Beware of mis-aligned benchmarks

Modeling someone that you respect is a great way to push yourself to be better than who you are. Role models help you to set higher benchmarks that will push you to perform better. The beauty of following role models and setting higher benchmarks is that you don’t have to wait to reach those levels to see a marked difference in your life. The journey will produce its own rewards along the way.

So, having the right role models and benchmarks is a double win – a prize at the end and several prizes during the journey.

On the flip side, get the wrong role models and your life can be a mess. All of you are smart to know this and I am sure you will ensure that you will NOT fall for that trap.

It gets tricky when you have a right role model but you choose the wrong benchmark from that role model to follow. The difference is subtle and It is hard to notice it at first. If you make a mistake here, you will take on a journey that will give you a perception that you are on the “right track” for a long time – when in fact, all you will be doing is “getting tired.”

A case in point ( please treat this ONLY as an example )

I was talking to friend about social media and very soon we started talking about Twitter. He was on Twitter for a while and he was frustrated a bit about the fact that hadn’t “broken” the 1000 followers mark yet. He was fascinated by all the people who had hundreds of thousands of followers. His point was that if he took the time to emulate one or two of them he will be on his way to a few thousand followers. He just had to take the time to do it.

Out of curiosity, I asked him to name two or three people that he was totally fascinated by. Upon further prodding, he talked about why he was fascinated by them and why they were his role models. After digging deeper on the topic for a few more minutes, it dawned on him that the people that he was fascinated by needed those Twitter followers to support their core business. It was a “required” part of how they operated in life and business. It was a clear means to an end.

On the other hand, my friend could have done a dozen other things the same time he would have spent getting those Twitter followers. However we sliced it and diced it, we could not find a solid reason for him to have that as part of his strategy to go where he wanted to go.

This is one of those cases where even if he had won, he would have lost in the end.

Now, I am not suggesting that having a LOT of Twitter followers is not worth it. The question is “how much is it worth it for you to spend that time” or asked differently, “what else could you have done in the time you spent on acquiring those Twitter followers?” [May be, may be – if you spend that time where your heart is, those Twitter followers will come anyway ]

To put it another way, you can be fascinated by someone but that does not mean you have to follow everything they are doing. You don’t know the strategy behind all their actions. They are like puzzle pieces in their game. You might see the individual puzzle pieces but only they know how the completed puzzle will look like. They are smart people and obviously what they do is working for them. You can learn from them but do not have to follow ALL their actions unless those actions are aligned to help you fulfill YOUR own strategy.

A mis-aligned benchmark can hurt you in the long run. Only you are RESPONSIBLE to notice the mis-alignment before you make a huge investment.

Photo Courtesy: communitiesuk on Flickr