I fully advocate stalking your personal hero.
But not in a creepy way. And definitely not in a ransom-note-written-with-cut-out-letters-from-newspapers kind of way.
What I mean is you should make it a priority to make contact with your hero, no matter how famous or inaccessible they seem to be. It’s important.
I say this from personal experience. Some of the most exciting and unforgettable experiences in my life involve meeting heroes who have inspired my work, passions, ideas, creativity, and spiritual life. And each time I’ve met one of my heroes, I’ve walked away with an unforgettable story…usually one that involves embarrassing myself, but still.
(Speaking of embarrassing stories: Visit ABL’s Facebook page to read what happened when I met President Bill Clinton.)
This week I met an A-list celebrity of the blogosphere: Chris Guillebeau, the genius behind The Art of Non-Conformity, and creator of great books and products for entrepreneurs, creatives, and world travelers alike.
For the past few hours I’ve been trying to think of a concise way to describe his appeal, but I can’t. So I’ll just say that if there’s anything about my website that you like (content, style, perspective, branding, etc.), it’s all thanks to inspiration from Chris. And if there’s anything you don’t like about A Brave Life, it’s because I haven’t yet learned how to do certain things as well as Chris can.
So when I had a chance to meet him during the New York City leg of his book tour, I knew I wanted to maximize the awesomeness of the experience by entering with a good plan.
My strategy? Turn the experience into a story worth telling your grandchildren — a tale that’s messy, funny, beautiful and inspiring. And then document it.
Here’s how you can do the same when you meet your hero:
1. Be a photojournalist.
Take lots of candid photos. Tell a story with them. Capture emotion, not just posed smiles. Include shots of the venue to set the tone of your story. The little details matter. By doing this, you’ll be able to look back at your photos and relive the experience.
2. Stop taking photos.
Don’t forget why you’re there. Put the camera down, breathe deeply, and let your gratitude fill you up. Look around at everyone else and know that you are sharing a special moment together. Be present.
3. Support your hero’s special projects.
So when I arrived at the event I purchased Chris’ new book The $100 Startup. I was ready to receive what he is so passionate about sharing. And it felt great to know that my small action was supporting the life and work of a person who has inspired my own life and work.
Bonus: Autographed books are so much nicer than autographed napkins!
4. Let yourself get so excited that you make a fool of yourself. It usually makes for a great story (or in my case, a dorky photo).
5. If you speak with your hero, do one or more of the following: express gratitude, ask a good question, say something funny, or share a short but awesome story about how your hero changed your life.
Here’s what happened as Chris signed my book:
Me: My husband was a little worried about me coming here today because he thinks I have a crush on you. But I reassured him that it’s more like my blog has a crush on your blog, and he felt better about it.
Chris: [Laughs] That’s really funny! Well, tell him everything’s cool, no need to worry!
…And then I merrily skipped home knowing that I made Chris Guillebeau smile.
Your Turn: Tell us the story of when you met your hero! Or: Who are you dying to meet?