Snow storms are blinding – it’s easy to get disoriented, confused, and lost.
Usually in a snow storm, you can only see a few feet in front of you. Maintaining your original trajectory can be difficult and sometimes impossible depending on the conditions. Also, looking for familiar signs and landmarks can be difficult – you can only see right in front of you.
So, what is the best way to navigate a snow storm then? By following someone else’s footprints, of course.
Walking in Someone Else’s Footprints
Now, when I talk about walking in someone else’s footprints, I am not talking about doing the same thing, I am simply talking about using their past experience as a guideline for where you want to go. The first person will have the hardest time navigating the storm – they have to forge new footprints, can get lost, and have no advantages. However, if you are the second, third, or fourth person, you have the added advantage of not needing to forge a new path. Everything is easier when you have the advantage of stepping in someone else’s footprints – you can see where they stepped, whether or not it’s safe, if the path works, and overall you will spend less time stumbling around.
Be Careful Who’s Footprints You Follow
While following someone else through a snow storm can be a huge advantage, there are also a couple things you need to be careful of.
Be careful whose footprints you follow: you don’t want to follow someone who is lost – because then it’s just the blind leading the blind. Make sure you are following in someone’s footsteps who achieved the things you want to achieve. Make sure they got where you want to go. If you are trying to get into town, and they ended up in the woods, then you might want to rethink stepping in their footprints.
Don’t wait too long: just like in a snow storm, footprints eventually blow away. When following in someone’s footprints, there is a lot of value to the immediacy in which you can pursue them. Wait too long, and the advantages you may have received will vanish. The relationships, the advice, the insights – all of those things may become less valuable as the environment shifts with the changing winds of the market.
Doing something new is always like setting out into a snow storm. You have an idea of where you want to end up, but you’re not quite sure how to get there. You know roughly where you want to go, but you don’t know the best path. Following in someone’s footprints, while sometimes humbling, can make things much easier on you – by leveraging their expended effort, their discoveries, and their insights to your advantage.