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.
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.
#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.”
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?
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This post is a collaboration between Dan Rockwell and Stan Endicott.
Note: I relax my 300-word limit on weekends.
Ha! Really enjoyed this, Dan and Stan. “Sherlocking Skills” is a new phrase for me, but something I use daily in my work as a leadership coach. Nicely done!
Thanks Deborah. You comment is encouraging. I wish you well in your coaching practice. Cheers.
Dan a couple thoughts. A good Sage needs to be viewed as confidential to be trusted. Like mentors it is best when an individual picks the Sage versus the other way around. I have found that those who get chosen as a work Sage often end up advising family and friends on a personal level as well.
Thanks Brad. Interesting observation… when we help people at work it tends to open doors to help others through other channels. As I think of it. Call it word of mouth advertising.
Probably the most sage advice I’ve ever received is “Don’t self select.” By taking on these habits, others will select you, and sages are always more effective when they are sought out because those seeking them are actually open to what they have to offer.
Thanks Jody. You bring up something interesting. There is an argument to be made that when the student is ready the teacher emerges. In those cases the sage finds the protégé.
Hi Brenda. There isn’t a #4.
Be the only person with the skills and/or nerve to complete certain technical tasks. People won’t care if you understand them or not, they will beat a path to your door.
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