I’m a realist, and if you haven’t noticed, I write and talk about a variety of topics which others might not talk about, and perhaps ones you would rather avoid thinking about, or postpone for as long as possible. My perspective is that someone has to have their “big girl pants” on. This means covering subjects which are the equivalent of vegetables when you are a kid, versus the candy you might have preferred.
Have you learned it is better to face tough topics head on, than to run away from them? If not, I can tell you it is. Yes, it is not easy to do this, but it beats the alternative of continuous avoidance. Are you guilty of this, or do you know someone who is? Where does that get you or them? Not far.
Although it might not have happened to you yet, there will come a time in your career when you are going to have to seek out a person who is going to be able to play the role of a trusted advisor. You might not have considered the need for this person to be in your life, but I highly encourage you to begin looking for and identifying them. Why? Because this person will be the life raft you will need to get you through a very difficult professional situation, or help you to navigate a decision which could alter the course of your career.
Do you have someone in mind who could play this role? If not, would you know how to go about determining who this person should be? Potentially it might be two people, but often it is one individual.
Let’s think about some of the characteristics we would want someone to have who is going to be our trusted advisor.
- The no brainer part is they need to be trust worthy.
- They need to have a proven record of being there for you when it really mattered. A parent or guardian often plays this role, but this person is someone in your professional sphere.
- You should also have will have cultivated a relationship with them, and perhaps they already played an advisory role for you at some point.
Additional criterion for selecting your trusted advisor is:
- Having excellent judgement, and a solid record of having made good decisions.
- Being strategic, and having the ability to see the big picture, especially when it is critical for them to do so.
- They are able to clearly communicate options for you to consider.
- They need to be both supportive and realistic.
- Understanding you well, and how you professionally operate will be helpful, as they will have better insight into the ramifications of your decision or scenario options.
- Being ethically minded.
- Operating from a place of looking out for your best interests.
- Taking a long-range approach to decision making, versus a short-term gain.
- Having experience with potentially the situation you are in is a bonus, as they will have clearer insight into how the outcome of your scenario could play out.
I remember hearing from one of the CEO’s I worked for about how he thought he had identified a group of trusted advisors. He found out he was wrong. In fact, he only had one. However, one was all he needed. His take away from this experience at first was shocking, and it occurred when the Board of Directors fired him. When he sought out advice from the people he thought were his trusted advisors about what his go forward plan should be, he had severely underestimated who he could count on.
How was this CEO so blind or caught off guard when he sought the advice he needed? Some of the reasons have to do with the criteria above not being factored in early enough, and prior to needing the trusted advisor to be in place.
Preparing to have your trusted advisor can also be compared to having a life insurance policy. No one really wants to have one, but it is the responsible thing to do, and you will not regret having one in place. You will regret not having your trusted advisor in place when you find yourself in need to consult with them. Don’t get caught off guard like the CEO I referenced.
Right now, you have the time now to invest in finding your trusted advisor. You will not regret having them in place when that day comes along when you will need to enlist their support. I guarantee you this, and as we know, there are not many guarantees issued in life or business.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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