Pursue What Matters
Episode 103: 5 People You Need in Your Corner
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Who do you need in your corner in order to reach your dreams? When it comes to big goals and big dreams, we often think about how we often think about what and we often think about when, but we don’t think about who. And that’s a problem.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:38
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So if you’re like many high achieving leaders, when you approach a big goal or a big dream, you think about how am I going to be successful? You think about what, what do I need to do in order to be successful, you think about when, in terms of the timing, when is the right time to do this or to do that, but very few of us, especially if you’re independent minded, you’ve got a strong work ethic, very few of us actually think about who do you need in your corner, who is going to help you reach your dreams, because here’s the thing we know, any worthy goal is going to require a lot of support. And so today, we are talking about the five people you need in your corner. When you’re doing big things. You need support, you need encouragement, you need direction, and guidance. And so that’s what we are going to be talking about today.
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:46
And with the podcast every single week, my goal is to help you pursue what matters and to strengthen your confidence to lead. I try to do that in one of three areas. So leading with clarity, do you know where you’re going and why it matters, curiosity. And this is all about self awareness and self leadership, learning to listen and understand your needs and desires, and then leading a community and building a community. And so you know, as we think about today’s topic, we’re really focused on community, right, you need a community to help you thrive, you can’t do it alone.
Dr. Melissa Smith 2:23
And so, you know, let’s start off by talking about this concept that comes from the military, right. And so in the military, there is the idea that for every operator in the field, so whether that’s special forces, or whether that’s regular troops in the field, he or she requires six military personnel in order to prepare them for their job and for their work. Think about that. I mean, that’s such an investment in that one individual out operating in the field. They got six people behind them, six people supporting them, and helping them for their work. And we know they’re doing important work. We know they’re doing big work. That’s very, very challenging. And so even if you think about special operators, so right, if we think about the sell the seals, Delta Force, Rangers, PJ’s, they are pretty remarkable, right? Like, they’re the best of the best for sure. Right? When when we’re talking about military, the special operators are the best of the best. But it’s so important to keep in mind that they don’t even do it alone. In fact, they have lots of support, they are the product of superior training and enormous support in order to be able to do what they do in it, in addition to their own commitment, their own work, their own skills, of course, and always. So what about you? Think about yourself, right? Like, you might not be a special operator in the military. But are you trying to go it alone? When you’re facing challenging tasks? When you’re facing a big goal? Are you going it alone? Do you recognize that in order to be successful, and to reach your full potential, which is what we are interested in, you need to be surrounded by others who can support you, who can challenge you, who can teach you and who can collaborate with you. And so this is such an important concept. And I think it’s, it’s, you know, the example that we see in the military is very applicable for us in our own lives, whether at home, or whether at work.
Dr. Melissa Smith 4:37
And so, the second point is this idea and sometimes this is a painful truth to accept, but that you are the average of the individuals you spend your time with. And so we want you to choose wisely, wisely. So this quote comes to us from Jim Rohn, who of course has so much wisdom to share when it comes to life. worship, and this is what he said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So, buyer beware, right? Like be be, be aware about that and be intentional. And so Rohn said this many, many years ago, but his statement has certainly been borne out in the research.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:19
So the people you spend the most time with shape who you are, and just think about this for yourself. Practically speaking, who do you spend most time with, and of course, over time, you know, you, you start to adopt similar, similar views, similar habits, similar activities, even similar language, right, I’ve noticed that with myself, with with friends, or, you know, meeting a new friend, maybe from a different region of the country. And the more time I’ve switched, and with this friend, I noticed, oh, I start using terms that she would use. And it was, it was kind of a fun little thing that I noticed. And now whenever I use that word, I actually think of this friend. So right, the people you spend the most time with shape who you are, so they determine what conversations will dominate your attention. They help determine the attitudes you have, how you think and how you behave, right.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:29
Of course, the strongest example of this is in families, our family relationships, where we’re spending so much time with the same individuals, absolutely shapes who we are, and of course, especially during those formative years, but it’s also true as adults, and you know, in your ongoing relationships. So according to some research, the people you habitually associate with, determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life. And that includes your happiness. So I mean, that is a staggering number, that that the people you associate with over time, determined as much as 95% of your success or failure in life. So Oh, my goodness, like this should be one of your most critical decisions in life, right? And think about parents and teens, they’re always talking about, like, be careful who your friends are. And it’s true. And so, you know, a point with this is that we really need to be intentional about our networks, right? Like, who are you spending time with? Who are you seeking counsel from? Are you expanding your network? Are you building strong connections? It’s so incredibly important. And then of course, we want to focus on who not how, okay, so when it comes to getting work done, and considering success, goal, achievement and realizing potential, most of us are focusing on the wrong factors, right? We’re focusing on what we’re focusing on how we’re focusing on when, and let me be very clear, those are all very important things to focus on. So it’s not that you should be ignoring those at all, because of course, you need to be focusing on those as well. But don’t overlook how. And so this idea of focus on who not how comes from the excellent book, who not how, by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, I believe it just came out. And, boy, it’s really good. In fact, you might see this show up as a book review. But you know, what they teach us in their, in their book is that when we look at taking on a big challenge, most of us focus on how right so these are some of the questions we ask, how will I be successful? How can I approach this problem? How can I be more productive and effective? So right, we focus on the tactics of working harder, and plan in isolation. And so I think, in many ways, this kind of narrow focus on you know, how and just work work work is kind of that work harder. sentiment. And instead, of course, we want to work smarter.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:10
Hard work is an awesome ethic. It’s an important ethic for anyone who wants to be successful, but it’s not the whole story. Okay. So if you consider your biggest goals in life, you you’ve probably never done it alone. And in fact, I would be so surprised if that is the case, right? Even if we think about some of the really hard won, battles in individuals lives, like, you know, overcoming cancer or overcoming addiction, right? You don’t do that, Oh, you don’t do any of those things alone. You have a team. You have a team of experts and supporters that help you along that road. And so, of course, it you know, when you do reach your biggest goals, it’s for sure has taken a lot of hard work, ingenuity and planning, but none of us build anything worth While alone, write, you might build something along, but it’s probably not very worthwhile, it probably doesn’t have that much meaning because as humans, we’re meaning makers, and we are wired for connection. So but when we focus solely on how we end up hitting the same now, or different nails, right, like every nail in our life with the same hammer, and it’s just less effective, right, we’re not as successful as we could be. And so Sullivan and Hardy really invite us to think in terms of who, so these would be some of the questions that you ask yourself, who, who do you need? Or who do I need to help me reach my goals? Okay, who can teach me something to help me be successful? Right? Like, is there a skill gap that you need some help with? Who can help me with tasks and skills that I may not possess, right, so when we think about this, who can help me to be successful, a lot of that is mentoring and perspective taking, because you might be head down on the trail. And it’s hard for you to know what to expect around the next bend. And so having someone who can provide perspective, who’s been there before, oh, my goodness, that’s so incredibly powerful. And then of course, who can help you with tasks and skills, right? Like, you might have some skill gaps. And so you absolutely need an expert and someone to to guide you and to teach you, and who can i delegate to. So that’s a really big one, you should not be trying to do everything. And sometimes with hard workers and high achieving leaders, that’s, that becomes their default, to just do everything, and instead of working smarter, they focus on working harder, trying to push more, taking more hours. And you know, of course, in the process kind of burning themselves out. So who can i delegate to, and so thinking about who instead of house really set you up for exponential growth, so I want you to think about this and how it might relate to your own life, your own work your own business, focusing on who instead of how is the best path forward for scaling.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:16
So if you want to grow your business, you know, you absolutely cannot do it alone, you need people. This is actually something that we’re dealing with right now, in our organization. And it’s a great problem to have, but it is challenging, right? Because there is especially when you’re so busy, it’s easy to say, I don’t have the time to come up with a job description, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the time to even identify what needs to happen. And then of course, you further undermine yourself. But if you are planning on growing, if you’re planning on scaling, you’ve got to have a focus on who, okay, who instead of how is also the best path forward for preventing burnout and resentment, right, you’ve got to stop trying to do everything on your own.
Dr. Melissa Smith 13:05
Who not how is also the best path forward for reaching your potential, right, like reaching your potential is a big deal, it’s a big thing. And that one of the things that makes me so sad is that there are so many of us living with our untapped potential. And that is a loss for the world, that is a loss for those individuals, that is a loss for anyone within the circle of their influence. And, you know, when when I say reaching potential is a big deal. It’s a big goal. It’s right. And you might not even have clarity about what that is. But you’ve got to dream bigger for yourself, and you can’t do it alone, you’ve got to have help. Because sometimes, these people that you have in your corner, help you to have a bigger dream for your life. And that is incredible. It’s inspiring, it helps you to these people help you to have a vision and catch a vision for who you can become and how you can contribute. And also who not how is the best path forward for helping others along their path, right? Because as you are fulfilling potential. And as you are connecting meaningfully, you are going to be a who, for others, right? You’re going to be able to help people along their path. And that’s what it’s all about contribution, right? Especially when we think about a Purpose Driven Life. It’s all about contribution. And so when you are doing your work, you can’t help but help others do their work. You can’t help but help others on their path. And that is pretty remarkable to me.
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:44
So now, let’s jump into the five people you need in your corner. Okay, so you know, you might have more than five people for sure. I hope you do. I hope you have multiple in each of these categories. But what I’ve done is I have, you know, I’ve taken some time and really considered, you know, how you can be successful, right? And who you need in that endeavor, right? The types of people. And so what I’m talking about are, I’m going to be talking about five categories of people you need in your corner. And, you know, like I said, hopefully you have multiple of each of these in your life, if that can be helpful, right? Not to overwhelm you. But we need we need people in our corner. And so the five people you need in your corner, include the following five, and they all start with C, isn’t that so convenient? I try to I try to help you that way. And actually, it helps me too. So you need a cheerleader, you need a collaborator, you need a challenger, you need a coach, and you need a consultant. Okay? Now, some of these can maybe be more formal, and some of them might be very informal. So we will talk about that as we talk about each of them. But I just want you to think about your own life, your own relationships, your own goals. And as I talk about these five different people, I want you to ask yourself, if you have one of those people in your corner, and if not like where’s where, where are the gaps, and what could be helpful. And I hope at the end of this podcast, you will have a strength and commitment to making sure you have these five people in your corner. Because your dreams are important. Your Goals are important, your success is important. And you won’t get there alone.
Dr. Melissa Smith 16:38
So first of all, let’s think about the cheerleader. So we all need a cheerleader in our lives. So I was a cheerleader in high school. So I think fondly about that. Not everyone does think fondly about that. But what did what did I do as a cheerleader? Right? Like we were there to support the teams, right? So all of the teams and participants in sports from our school, right? And it was bigger than just sports, right? Like it was we were cheerleaders for the whole school. So what did we do? We had unabashed support for our school. And that’s what we want to think about when it comes to having a cheerleader in your life. Now, before I go on, I, you know, so I just said, I hope that you will think about who you need in your life, and if you have these folks in these categories. But the other thing that I want you to consider as you listen to the podcast today is Who are you to others. So think about, think about these five people in relation to how you show up for others. Are you a cheerleader for someone? Are you a collaborator, for someone, and so you need, you need people in your corner, and you need to be in other people’s corner. And so it’s it’s such a beautiful, virtuous cycle. So I want you to think about both of those pieces. As I talk to you about these five people.
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:05
So okay, let’s get back to the cheerleader. So when we’re when we think about a cheerleader in your life, we want someone who can have just just out there unabashedly support of you, and your causes and your goals. So someone who can see your potential, when you do not, that can be really helpful. The cheerleader can provide a lot of perspective about you personally, right? So this is someone who really understands you, maybe this is a loved one, maybe this is a family member. So it’s not as important for the cheerleader to have specific knowledge of your industry or your work or the specifics of your goal. But what’s important is that they have specific knowledge and belief in you. So a lot of times, right, like we would think about, you know, having history with them, like if they’ve seen you over the years, you’ve seen them over the years. And so the cheerleader is really there to strengthen and encourage you on your path, recognizing that it’s not their path, and there may be little that they actually understand about your specific path. Right. And so they don’t need to have a lot of domain specific knowledge or understanding in order to be able to cheerlead you. And sometimes it’s kind of better if they don’t actually. So the cheerleader is someone who can lift you up when you hang down. And boy, that is super important for each of us.
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:37
And so now I want you to think about who is your cheerleader, right. So these would be specific people maybe in your life who could be a cheerleader for you. So for sure, a mentor or a sponsor? Because right if we think about mentors and sponsors, they have perspective and that’s so incredibly important when you’re We’re on your path. It could be a colleague, it could be a friend, right friends can be some of the best cheerleaders. Because they know you, it certainly could be a loved one, a family member, so maybe your spouse or partner, maybe your mom, right. So, my, my mother is certainly a great cheerleader for me. And she doesn’t know a lot about the details of my work, or even the details of some of some of my biggest goals. But she knows me, and she can can come in with lots of love and encouragement. And so what do they do? So what does the cheerleader do for you, they encourage they empathize, they support, they strengthen, they provide perspective, they build resilience, and provide hope. Okay, so these, these folks bring the emotional connection, the emotional love, the emotional encouragement. And so, you know, when I think about cheerleaders in my life, you know, the first person that comes to mind for me, certainly is my guy friend, my husband, he has, you know, through all the years that I’ve known him, he has been nothing but incredibly supportive of me and my goals and my journey. And he, you know, he seen me enough, over the years with different goals and different challenges, that he can provide incredible perspective to me, right, because it’s easy. When you’re on your path to get lost in the weeds. It’s easy to feel so burdened by the trail, and by the, you know, the scope of your work and your goals, that it’s you just lose perspective, you just have your head down in the weeds. And so, you know, when you have a loved one who can come in and say, hey, we’ve seen this pattern before, we’ve seen you feel overwhelmed, but still succeed and what helps you, right? And certainly, my husband does that. Well, he knows about patterns. And he can provide great perspective, he can remind me, you know, when it’s time to rest, when it’s time to push when it’s time to pause, right? Because both of those are so important along your trail. And they can provide hope and encouragement, right belief in you. I know you can do it. I believe in you. And don’t ever underestimate the power of that kind of encouragement because it is a game changer. It’s so incredibly important.
Dr. Melissa Smith 22:39
Okay, so that is the cheerleader. And now the second person you need in your corner is the challenger. Now, this one might surprise you, but I hope it doesn’t. Because here’s the thing, in order for us to grow, we need to be challenged. And you know, having a great challenger who has good intent for you, right? They’re not solely focused on you, but who, you know, respects you, I think that’s the big key can really accelerate your growth and your progress. So one of the best examples of a challenger relationship, I think, is Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, right. They were neck and neck all the way along, in terms of their companies and the kind of work that they were doing, right, like in a very similar field when we think about personal computers. And they, so here’s the thing, right? Like, we often see Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as enemies like mortal enemies. But that’s really not the case. They they had a you know, I would say they were maybe frenemies a little bit. So they weren’t, they weren’t always enemies, they, you know, I would not say that that totally characterizes their relationship. We know that both of them are have very strong personalities, right. So that can always add some tension, but they had respect for one another. And they always, always, always, always kept an eye on the other one.
Dr. Melissa Smith 24:08
Okay. So if we think about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, right, Microsoft, which is, of course, Bill Gates’ company, it made software early on for the mega popular Apple two PC, right, and so they really did work together. And in concert, and then of course, gates would routinely fly down to California, right, Gates was based in Seattle, Steve Jobs in Cupertino, to see what Apple was working on. Right, they really kept an eye on each other. And then in the early 80s, a jobs flew up to Washington to sell Gates on the possibility of making Microsoft software for the Apple Macintosh computer, with its revolutionary graphical user interface, so gates wasn’t really impressed with what he saw. Because the platform at that time was really very limited. And he also wasn’t really impressed with Jobs’, attitude. So you know, Jobs can be a strong personality. But they did work on Okay, like, Is there a way for us to work together? And then in 1983, Gates appeared alongside Jobs in a video called the dating game riff, right? So on that riff on that show, and it was screened for Apple employees ahead of the Macintosh’s launch. So in that video Gates complements the Mac, saying that it really captures people’s imagination. And so you know, they were always competitors. And they challenged one another to better work, right. And so, Microsoft and Apple worked hand in hand for the first few years of Macintosh. And, at one point, Gates quipped that he had more people working on the Mac than Jobs did, which was actually probably true. And so they did have a very rocky time in their relationship. And this is when Jobs accused Gates of stealing the idea, and Gates famously answered, well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox, and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it. So that was Gates’s response to Jobs. So they really challenged each other, and really, you know, pushed one another to better work. And they weren’t necessarily friends, right. Like they definitely had some hostile engagements. But they, I think they respected one another, it certainly that certainly shows up, if you look in the details of their, of their life.
Dr. Melissa Smith 27:06
So Jobs at one point said, of Gates, I admire him for the company he built. It’s impressive, and I enjoyed working with him. He’s bright, and actually has a good sense of humor, right? So you can see that respect there, even though they were competitors and challengers, and then after Jobs died, Gates said, I respect Steve, we got to work together, we spurred each other on, even as competitors, none of what he said bothers me at all. And that’s probably really good. Gates didn’t personalize what Jobs said over the years.
Dr. Melissa Smith 27:41
So the question that I have for you, when it comes to the challenger, is who pushes you to improve? And who can you have some healthy competition with? Because when it comes to your challenger, there is quite a bit of competition. But right, we think about humoristic competition or unhelpful competition, and then we also think about healthy competition. And so let me just describe the challenger for you, this individual is doing similar work to you, you may see this individual as a competitor, right? You may or may not. If there is competition, it’s healthy competition, which includes respect for one another. And that’s really the key. When it comes to a challenger. This person pushes you to better work, this person challenges your worldview. So I think about Gates and Jobs, they had very different ideas about the user interface, and even the nature of PCs. And they challenge one another in that respect. And so this person challenges your worldview, but also your status quo, right? Like they push you to better work, this person pushes you to know your stuff, reasoned through your arguments, and defend your points. So in every way, even though sometimes these moments are very enjoyable, right, because they can be stressful, it’s the challenge response, because it pushes you it spurs you to better work, and more success, ultimately. So this person may make you a little bit nervous, but they always push you to be better. And so the challenger brings the challenge response, right, which is that stress response and the fine balance between working beyond your capabilities, but still being able to perform, learn and achieve that’s the, that’s the challenge, stress response. And the challenger really invites that work. So the challenger does not see you as weak but as a worthy opponent as a worthy competitor. So it’s a huge compliment to you, right? And the challenger really…right like, in them seeing you as a worthy competitor, this helps you to square your shoulders and grow into bigger goals. So sometimes these are the people that the ask what if, and maybe they’re asking that what if question in their own life, but because you, you are a challenger, because you are doing similar work, it helps you to ask the bigger question in your own life. So this, you know, the challenger is pursuing their own growth parallel to you. So they’re focused on their work, but they’re paying attention to you, their top priority is their success. And what I would say is when it comes to the challenger, don’t expect them to get out of your way. Right, because they’re challenger. And while the challenger doesn’t wish you harm, they’re focused on their success, not yours. And so you know, don’t expect them to bow down to you, or to, you know, your goals, the best challengers take and expand the pie mentality. So this is a business term we talk about. A lot of people talk about cutting the pie, right, like splitting the pie. And the best challengers help us to expand the pie to think outside of the constraints that we have set up for ourselves currently. So the best challengers take and expand the pie mentality, instead of trying to get more of the existing pie. And so it’s a very different mindset, right? It is the abundance mindset. in play, right, like there’s enough, there’s enough pie for all of us, there’s enough work for all of us, there’s enough space for us to throw to both thrive in this field.
Dr. Melissa Smith 31:34
Okay, so who makes the best challengers? So for sure, when we think about the challenger, we think about colleagues, we think about competitors, we think about someone who works in your industry, right? doing the same work, someone doing similar work to you. Someone who is also in the arena doing the work, right. So when we think about the arena, we think about Brene Brown, and for sure, President Roosevelt, which is where Brown pulls the quote from, we think about someone else who is in the arena, working hard and working towards big goals. And when we think about the arena, right, it’s dreaming bigger, it’s also more vulnerable. So it’s not like they’re in the cheap seats. spurning you on or, you know, criticizing you, they’re also doing the work. And so in that way, they’re just as vulnerable as you are. The best challengers are someone you admire and respect. And, you know, it’s okay, if you feel intimidated by your challenger, that can spur you to greater growth. And, you know, the best challengers for sure, are those who are leveling up in their own lives.
Dr. Melissa Smith 32:53
Okay, so what do the challengers do specifically? Right, so these are the generous critics. And that’s a term that comes from Seth Godin, and has excellent work the practice, they have good intent for you, but they are willing to give you critical feedback. They are willing to expose your weaknesses and challenges. And so you’ve got to have a thick skin here. Because it’s in challenge that we grow. The best challengers, another thing that they do, they acknowledge your strength. So they, they respect you, right, they respect and challenge you. And the other thing they do is they push you to be better. Another thing that the best challengers do is they succeed, right? Don’t pick, don’t pick a challenger who’s not succeeding, but they succeed, which spurs your own desire to succeed, and they really push you to be better through their own efforts to improve. Okay, so that’s a little bit about the challenger, a description of what that role is, who makes a good challenger and what they actually do for you. And so think about that, in terms of who do you have in your corner and who are you and other individuals corners?
Dr. Melissa Smith 34:13
Okay. So we’ve talked about the cheerleader, we’ve talked about the challenger. And now we are going to talk about the collaborator, right? We all need a collaborator. So one of the best examples of such a powerful collaboration over the years, has been the Nobel Prize winning psychologists Kahneman and Tversky. Now Tversky, died several years back, and, and so you know, he is no longer with us. But Kahneman went on to win the Nobel Prize. And he has very clearly said over the years and in his grave book that, you know, they both, they that that prize is for both of them because the Nobel Prize was won for their collaborative work. But the Nobel Prize does not go to individuals who are deceased, which is why, you know, Tversky had died before that Nobel Prize was given. So the here’s a little bit about their story. So in 1968, Tversky, and Kahneman, were both rising stars in the psychology department at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. And they had very little in common. So Tversky was born in Israel, and had been a military hero. And he had a lot of swagger, he was very optimistic, he was very confident, and had a very strong personality. And he, you know, he was a night owl, he would often schedule meetings with his graduate students at midnight, over tea, so no one would bother them. So he was quite, quite a character. And he was, he had a lot of one liners, right. And he found much of life funny, like, he just didn’t take things too seriously. But he could also be very sharp with critics. And, and so like he, he wasn’t afraid to get in to the fray with people. And they had a lot of success as a result of that. So early in his career, Tversky was a mathematical psychologist, which meant that he used formal models to characterize human behavior, right. So there’s a geeky application for you. So that was a little bit about his work.
Dr. Melissa Smith 36:46
And, and now let’s learn a little bit about Daniel Kahneman. So Kahneman was very disorganized. He was born in Tel Aviv, when his mother was visiting family. And he spent his childhood in Paris, speaking French as his first language. And in 1940, during the German occupation, the family went into hiding in the south of France, where they managed to survive. However, his father did die in 1944, from untreated diabetes. So certainly a secondary effect of the war experience. So Kahneman, so if we think about Tversky, he was very relaxed, very optimistic Kahneman was a constant, worrier. He would, he would wake up early, often alarmed about something, and he was very prone to pessimism. So you know, these two would not be a likely companionship, they would not be a likely collaborator. And so the thing that these two were able to do is they merged an unlikely collaboration. And so Tversky liked to say that people are not so complicated, relationships between people are complicated. But then he would pause and add, except for Danny, except for Kahneman. So they were very different. But they collaborated intensely over the years, and came up with some of the most phenomenal applications of psychology as it applies to human behavior. It has impacts in economics, and really incredible insight into how we function as humans. And so one of the things that was characteristic of these two is that they would spend hours walking around together and talking and just, you know, this mind meld of the work and really collaborated towards the Nobel Prize, which is pretty incredible. And you can read more about that amazing collaboration and work in Kahneman’s book, which this was written after Tversky’s death, which is Thinking Fast and Slow, it’s pretty remarkable.
Dr. Melissa Smith 39:10
So what, who is the collaborator, right? This is someone you can speak to on the level without guarding or hiding. So there’s a lot of trust, there may be formal collaboration on projects, if we think about researchers such as Kahneman and Tversky, but it may not be formal collaboration. So this individual understands the nature of your work, the challenges that it holds and what it takes to be successful. So these individuals are in the weeds with you, right? They understand your domain, they understand your field of study, and this person has your back. There’s a ton of trust with this individual and this person, so the collaborator can tell you what you may not want to hear, but you need to hear. Okay, so these folks are like gold, they’re so incredibly valuable. And the collaborator has good intent for you. And that’s where we really come to the trust, you know, you trust that they have good intent for you. And that’s really important because they are sometimes giving you your most critical feedback, because they do understand you, and they do understand the domain, but they have good intent. And the collaborator has perspective not only about you, but about the nature of the path you are on. So they get it, they get it in many ways. The collaborators perspective is incredibly important. So do not underestimate it. Do not underestimate this perspective. The collaborator listens to your venting, and gets and gets it right and, and has the ability to really be on the inside. So you can vent about the details. Without fear that you know, you’re going to get written up or, you know, you’re going to get ratted out or anything like that. So it really, you know, the collaborator really helps you to show up. For the work, they show up for you, you show up for them. So this is a very reciprocal relationship, someone whom you have mutual goals with, right, so we’re working on building something big, whether it’s in the business, whether in life, and there’s mutual growth for both you and your collaborator. So it’s not like we have one person standing on the side of the trail, while the other one is achieving. But you have mutual goals, and you’re moving along the trail together, you’re on your own trail, right, you have your own path, but in many ways, they are parallel paths.
Dr. Melissa Smith 41:45
And so who fills the collaborator role? Well, so this is the trusted friend, a trusted colleague, this can be your best friend at work, right? We all value or get value from having a best friend at work, according to Gallup’s research someone with within your larger professional network, whom you have built trust with. So I was reading a leadership book, not too long ago, and the individual is talking about having like a conference best friend. And these individuals met at a conference years ago, they live in different parts of the US. I think they were both in the US. But they would get together once a year at the conference. And they became incredible collaborators, and also, of course, great cheerleaders for one another. And so what does the collaborator do? They listen, they empathize, they encourage, they give you tough feedback needed for your growth, okay? They provide perspective about what you may be missing, they point out your blind spots, we all need someone pointing out our blind spots, they make suggestions for greater success, they make you better by their contributions, they obviously collaborate, thus making you better buy their contributions. And the the collaboration can take the form of specific projects, but also in the form of helping to mold the type of professional You are right, they influence your thinking, and collaborators help mold character, okay, so these people are really, really important. When we think about everything when we think about the role that they play.
Dr. Melissa Smith 43:25
And now let’s talk about the coach. Right. So this is this is the fourth person you need in your corner. Okay, so let’s describe the coach just a little bit. The coach helps you to reach your full potential. Often coaching relationship is a formal relationship. Right. So it’s a formalized relationship with an agreement, specific responsibilities, etc. Right. And so whether that is a leadership coach, whether that’s a fitness coach, whether that’s a marketing coach, right, like, it’s a more formal relationship, typically, and the formal nature of the coaching relationship ensures that the coach is focused on your needs and goals, right? So they are entirely focused on your success. The coaching role is it’s not a reciprocal relationship. Okay? So it’s, they’re entirely focused on you, you and the coach are both focused on you, your goals, your success, your needs. So it’s not reciprocal, although, of course, the coach can certainly find great value in the relationship right. So the coach is benefited by that relationship, but everyone’s focused on your growth. The coach is entirely focused on your needs and your success. And due to the formal nature of their relationship, the coach is really empowered to help you close gaps in specific areas you have determined right so they are not going to be tiptoeing around in your life. They’re going to be pointing out concern And giving you specific direction, right? If you think about a coach on the field, they are giving direction. And that’s really important. So the coach has a responsibility to help you close the gaps that you have. And the goat, the coach can certainly function as a teacher, right, they do a lot of teaching in that role of a coach. And so who is a good coach. So this is a professional with the credentials and experience needed to successfully coach you, right? They’re an expert in an identified area, right. So you have a fitness coach, they are certified as a fitness professional, they have the credential, they have the expertise, they have the experience to actually help you. It’s really important that your coach is someone you will respect and listen to. Because if you don’t respect your coach, it’s going to be an on successful endeavor. And the coach is a professional who can provide the necessary structure to help you succeed. And that’s a really important part of the coaching relationship is structure, right? If you think about with a marketing coach, or a business coach, or a fitness coach, you have you have tasks, you have things that you need to do think about a sports practice, there are things you need to do, and there are things you need to do in between your practices. And so the structure is really important. The coach is a professional who can teach you skills to accelerate your growth, right, so can move you along your path more quickly. And so we think about a leadership coach for leadership development, whether that CEO, executive teams organizations, we think about strength and conditioning coach for health and fitness goals, we think about a marital therapist for couples counseling. So coaches need to be domain specific to be most effective, right? They’re an expert in one domain. And that’s how they can be of most use to you.
Dr. Melissa Smith 46:59
So what does the coach do? So the coach, first and foremost assesses your skills, assesses your strengths, and assesses your deficits, right, so they get the lay of the land in very fine detail in very specific detail, because then that is going to guide how they coach you. So the coach provides structure for goal pursuit, I’ve already talked about that. Coaches, the best coaches invite self reflection through tough questions to really help you hone in on self reflection and self leadership. So coaches increase insight by being a truth teller, right? telling you what others will not tell you, giving you the very tough feedback, that it’s not just tough to be tough, right? It’s not just to, to create suffering for you, but it is targeted very specifically at helping you accomplish your goals. And the coaches also are doing skill building in specific areas. So whether that’s around communication skills, whether that’s on delegation skills, they educate on those skills on those topics, and provide direction for additional learning. So what can you do? How can you carry this home with you? How can you apply it, coaches push you to more responsibility, they encourage more self leadership, and they increase your accountability, right? So accountability and responsibility, and not quite the same thing. They also increase your alignment between your words and your actions. So is there congruence between those two things, the best coaches increase alignment between your values and your daily action. So that’s another important connection. And they give you the honest feedback, they ask the difficult questions, and they coach you to more effective action. And so they’re really all about helping you increase insight about strengths and challenges and push you to accountability on your goals. So coaches are incredibly valuable. You know, I just think about my own life. I think I have probably like three or four coaches, right? Like I have a fitness coach who helps me with a powerlifting and I have a marketing coach. I have a physical therapist who I consider a coach on mobility. And so you know, think about your own life and who do you already have who is working as a coach for you and what Where are there gaps may be in that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 49:38
Okay, so now we’re ready to talk about our fifth person that you need in your corner, and this is the consultant okay, so what does the consultant do or let’s let’s look at a description of who this is and, and how they show up for you. So this is someone with domain specific knowledge who can strengthen your skill sets. So this is also pretty targeted. So, consultant is someone that you consult with occasionally, or on an ongoing basis in specific areas of your leadership development or your business or your life. You know, so sometimes a consultant could be considered, like a physician or an accountant, right I, that’s what I consider my accountant, as a consultant in in several areas, you can think about, you know, a marketing strategist is is a great consultant to have. So consultants are specialists whom you bring on board to strengthen gaps in your business and in your life. So there are specialists who help you to accelerate growth, who can do things that you or your team cannot. So whether that’s like a developer, you know, they are experts, they are specialists. And it’s someone who you respect for their skills, someone who makes you and your leadership more successful, they provide skills and knowledge that you need to be successful. And so who makes the best consultants. So sometimes it’s a colleague with specific domain knowledge, someone within your professional network with skills that you need someone within your larger business ecosystem known for their unique skills, someone who is very good at what they do. So don’t have a mediocre consultant that is not going to help you.
Dr. Melissa Smith 51:32
So the consultant relationship can be more of a formal relationship where you hire them to do a specific job. And you know, you can expect specific results, but it can also be less formalized, in which there are curbside consultations occasionally. And there’s not necessarily clear expectation of specific results. And so you know, think about that some, some consultant relationships are very formal. And there’s an agreement kind of like a coach, and others are less formal. So what do the consultants do? Right, so they really do provide that domain specific knowledge and expertise, they consult on specific areas of your work, they provide recommendations for next steps, they provide perspective on the specific challenges you’re facing, recognizing that you do not possess the same kind of deep knowledge that they do. And so they bring in perspective, they really do bring a deep knowledge of the topic area. And that’s really important for your understanding, so that you can make better decisions. And they’re awesome, because then you don’t need to develop that deep knowledge, which would be a pretty ineffective use of your time, and resources. So they provide specific targeted direction for specific targeted results.
Dr. Melissa Smith 52:55
Okay, so those are the five people you need in your corner. So again, they are the cheerleader, the collaborator, the challenger, the coach, and the consultant. And so again, I hope you will take some time and think about, who do you already have in your corner who fits into those categories for you? And where, where are you lacking? Like, where do you Where can you see like, oh, boy, I I think I do need a collaborator in my life. And then the second part of that is think about who you can be who you can be for someone else, right? Are you someone’s cheerleader, are you someone’s consultant, collaborator, challenger, or coach, there are important ways that you can also show up for others and so of course, we always want to pay attention to that balance and that give and take and so head on over to my website to check out the show notes. With all the resources for this episode. I’ll have a few links there at www.drmelissasmith.com/fivepeople so that’s all spelled out. FIVE PEOPLE. So one more time. That’s www.drmelissasmith.com/fivepeople I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
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