Saturday Sage: How to Become a Go-To Person

When your friends face critical life-decisions, you want to be their go-to person.

When knees buckle and people are stressed, you want to give strength.

When leaders around you stumble, you want them to reach for you.

A go-to person thrives by understanding people. Image of a cat and a dog laying close.

How to become a go-to person:

#1. A go-to person develops sagacity:

Learn and integrate diverse experiences. A sage doesn’t hide from pain and disappointment. Fools repeat and suffer. A sage learns and adapts.

Painful experiences enable you to connect and influence authentically.

Study people. A go-to person thrives by understanding people. Some are quiet. Others are talkative. Accept people.

When you reject people, they resist you.

Maintain true north. A go-to person has a viewpoint. Your lens consists of values, experience, and desire to contribute.

#2. A go-to person knows when they’re relevant.

Be near during painful situations.

Drop by after tragic loss or catastrophic failure. A sage leans in when others pull away.

Gently bring up experiences others avoid. “I’m so sorry to hear you were terminated,” for example.

Get curious when people walk untested ground. Have coffee with a person who earned that big promotion. Send a note when someone faces new opportunities or challenges.

A go-to person provides unique value by seeing things that aren’t obvious and hearing things that go unsaid.

A go-to person provides unique value by seeing things that aren't obvious and hearing things that go unsaid. Image of a person with a flashlight.

#3. A go-to person practices Sherlocking.

A sage sees like Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock used his skill to see things others missed and hear things others ignored to make unexpected conclusions.

People saw the light when Holmes put the puzzle together.

Seeing what others miss doesn’t have to be pushy. Grace and kindness elevate Sherlocking above intrusiveness.

In “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb”, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock demonstrates compassion and kindness.

 “It is easy to see your experience has been no common one, Mr. Hatherley,” he said. “Pray, lie down there and make yourself absolutely at home. Tell us what you can, but stop when you are tired and keep up your strength with a little stimulant.”

5 Sherlocking skills:

1. Gain insight through quiet observation. See what others don’t see.

2. Understand the big picture with careful listening. Hear what isn’t said.

3. Expand perspective by hovering above situations. A sage sees where the train was, where the train is, and where the train is going.

4. Build new vantage points by summarizing new observations.

5. Clear vision by excluding irrelevant ideas, distracting emotion, and fearful outlooks.

Donna-Lynn Musgrave says, “Wherever you go, scope out the situation carefully before you take off your dog’s leash.”

Wherever you go, scope out the situation carefully before you take off your dog's leash.

Sir Author Conan Doyle warns, “You see, but you don’t observe.”

Make a contract with yourself. Have courage to say, “I want to be a go-to sage.”

Sign here_____________________________ Date____________

An exercise that moves you toward being a go-to sage:

List 5 admirable traits of your go-to sage. 

How did they develop those traits?

How might you develop traits that make you a go-to sage?

Still curious:

How to End the Frustration of Recurring Problems

The Real Work of Leaders Happens on the Balcony

This post is a collaboration between Dan Rockwell and Stan Endicott.

Note: I relax my 300-word limit on weekends.