I moved to St. Louis a short 4 months ago. During that time I spent a small stint working on Perl code, met some amazing people, founded my own company on the side, and joined a great group of guys at a Rails shop in town. It has been an absolutely breathtaking experience.

One of the most incredible moments so far though was a couple nights ago. My friend Israel Vicars has been on the path towards becoming a developer since I met him several months ago. It is tough when you see everyone else lightyears ahead of you.

Things race through your head like: “Okay, I read another book on programming, but how do I apply it? When do I get to build something real?” You can quickly become distraught and lose faith. Last night he deployed his first real web application.

Israel is a hustler. He started a meetup here for programmers who want to come out on a Friday night and code until the sun rises. He knew that surrounding himself with the right people would provide the mentorship and encouragement needed to accomplish his goals.

No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, whether you want to become a developer, a banker, an artist, or a doctor, find the right people to surround yourself. Jim Collin’s amazing book Good To Great notes that getting the right people on board is the first step to success. Not only does this apply to business, but your personal life. Surround yourself with the right people and you can’t help but succeed.

That’s the first stepping stone to becoming great. Afterwards it’s all downhill from there, the next stepping stones feel much closer. Not sure what your next goal should be? Just ask one of your friends.

It’s also good to keep a group of friends who are both more experienced and less experienced than you are. Not only will you have a great group of mentors, but the chance to become a mentor yourself. You look at some of the most famous people in the many industries and they’re famous because they want to share this knowledge to help other people succeed.

So head over to meetup.com, go find meetups in your area, make new friends, and go succeed. Tangible goals are the stepping stones to success.

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