Learn from others’ successes and failures

I am never shy about sharing my mistakes, because we learn so much more from what went wrong than what we did right. So, I often reflect on situations where the outcomes were not that great and try to figure out why.

I dedicate time every day to reading, listening to podcasts, watching informative videos and listening to others who know much more than I do so I can incorporate their teachings, wisdom and experiences into my business and investment practices. Many successful people in business and in life know their strengths and weaknesses. They align themselves with others who have a positive influence, bringing knowledge and expertise to the table.

When I started in the insurance industry, I didn’t have a large support team or the necessary resources. I didn’t have many established relationships, as my professional network was still very small. It was tough to pay my associates, but through transformational leadership, the company grew more successful.

I hired talented people with strengths that complemented my own. I surrounded myself with the right people and relied on important mentors to help guide my development. It’s all about the “who.” If the who isn’t right, the “what” doesn’t matter.

Today, I gain investment inspiration from many of the most successful investors, those that have exceptional experience and outstanding track records of performance. I read much of what they write and watch interviews. I made a commitment to lifelong learning. Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa inspire me to grow and improve in all areas of my life. These words from Mother Teresa made a significant impact: “We are not all called to do extraordinary things, but everybody can do ordinary things extraordinarily.” Legends that have lived during our lifetime provide tremendous words of wisdom.

It’s important to surround ourselves with positive role models, and that includes finding mentors who are family, friends, business colleagues and professionals who have different skills, experience and histories of success. There’s incredible value in building a team of mentors and advisers who can guide us on various aspects of life, faith, health, family, business and investments.

My grandparents, parents and other family members were a big part of my life growing up. I soaked in their knowledge. I learned a great deal from my father and emulated him at an early age, working tirelessly to pay my way through college and start my own business. My parents served as an example of hard-working middle-class immigrants with modest means, striving to make a better life for us. We lived reasonably — we were not materially wealthy but blessed with love and family. I feel compelled to share the life lessons that I was taught by my family with others.

I focus on helping others because there was a time when I needed help to succeed. Although it’s not possible to mentor everyone I meet, I do my best to help. I rely on my wonderful, hardworking and strong network to try to solve problems for others and connect the dots. I can find the right fit. I feel a sense of fulfillment.

In life, seek out mentors who set a positive example. Set aside time for self-refection and figure out who you want to be, what you want to do and where you want to go. Then find those who have the knowledge, experience and track record who can mentor you on life’s journey. I am so blessed to be called upon by wonderful, prosperous and exceptional people I have known throughout the years, and I hope you are able to find this kind of fulfillment during your life’s journey.

Umberto P. Fedeli is CEO of The Fedeli Group