A few years ago I spoke at a conference and afterwards a young wedding professional came up to meet me. They rattled off a list of about a dozen "big industry names" they had met and then said, "After meeting you, I now only need to meet one other person and I'll have met all the people I need to learn from in the industry."
Here's a not-so-secret secret: Some of the "biggest names" in the industry are majorly in debt and barely holding it together, regardless of the life their Instagram depicts. Some of the people you've "never heard of" in the industry make high six or seven figures annually and are quite content to fly under the radar.
Everyone you meet has something you can learn from: success, failure, a different angle of thinking, an opinion that challenges yours and prompts you to articulate and define your stance better.
The people who commit to constantly learning, unlearning, and who check their bias and ego at the door are the ones who will succeed over the long haul.
(By the way, the person I met is unfortunately – but not surprisingly – no longer in business.)
Originally published May 2014