Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. What this boils down to, of course, is that we are greatly influenced by those closest to us. These people affect the way we think, our self-esteem, the decisions we make. If you’re ready to grow, here are five people you need in your professional circle, according to career coach Richard Leider.
#1 – Committed Listener
If you have a decision (big or small) to make about your career, do you have a friend or colleague who you know will always listen? Knowing that you have someone you can turn to that will talk out a problem or debate a decision is a huge source of comfort – we all need a sounding board. Talking is a great way to process your problems and get some outside perspective. Keep this person on speed dial!
#2 – Catalyst
Hitting a rut in your professional life is common. And that’s where catalyst friends do their best work. Even if you don’t consider yourself or your career very creative, connecting with someone who likes to think outside of the box will help you do the same. Next time you hit a slump, take your catalyst out for a drink and share your woes. Chances are, their wheels will start turning and they will have plenty of ideas about how to get your groove back.
#3 – Connector
Connectors bring about change by bringing together people. They’re natural hubs of connectivity. We all know a connector – because they seem to know everyone! If you’re ready to grow your business, your connector will be your best resource. Connectors are easily able to recognize your strengths and the strengths of others who will complement your skills.
#4 – Task Master
Unconditional support is a wonderful thing, but there comes a time where a cold hard dose of reality is the best medicine. A colleague who will look at the facts and tell you what you need to hear is a necessity in every professional life. You should always have someone in your life who you can trust to tell you the truth–no matter what. They will be able to play devil’s advocate and help you see things in a new light. Next time you are lacking motivation or can’t figure out why your marketing plan isn’t working, ask your most critical friend for advice and they will set you straight.
#5 – Mentor
Even the most successful people can learn from others. Foster a relationship with someone you really admire – someone who has experience that you lack. Find someone you can trust to impart their wisdom on you. Just be sure to return the favor to someone in the future!
The best boards contain a diverse group of people, each of whom plays a different role: a committed listener, who holds up the mirror; a catalyst, who helps you get outside your comfort zone; a connector, who plugs you into other resources, people, and learning opportunities; a task master or trainer, who holds you accountable for doing what you say you’re going to do; and a mentor, who helps you keep your eye on the long view and the big picture.