Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to see an old friend. Tommy Mygrant and I met at my first Coach Summit in 2009. He was a finalist in what was then known as the Million Dollar Body Game (now The Beachbody Challenge) and he was very nervous (the winner got $250,000). I was just plain nervous. I had a fairly serious case of social anxiety just a few short years ago, and being around all those people I didn’t know drove me crazy. Somehow Tommy and I ended up talking until about 3:30 in the morning. He told me a lot about his life and what he’d been through and it meant a lot to me, because he was one of the first people that I was able to simply let talk. I just shut up and let him talk. Tommy has gone on to become somewhat of a superstar in Beachbody land, and I’m proud of what he’s accomplished and the man he has become. The brief times we get to spend together are really fun for me because he’s someone I feel close to, even though we live far apart and don’t get to talk much. It was great to see him today, and particularly nice for his wife Ashley to greet me the way she did.
One of the things Tommy said moved me: “Become a trusted adviser”. We all need trusted advisers in our lives. Sometimes they do simple things like recommending a great doctor/lawyer/restaurant/product. Sometimes they are the example we need to follow. Sometimes they help us correct our course when life gets away from us. Sometimes they are the shoulder we need to cry on. In any case, we all need trusted advisers, because a real trusted adviser will be all of these things at some point during our relationship.
So, how do you become a trusted adviser? Well, it seems to me that there are two important parts to this equation: (1) being trusted; and (2) being an adviser. Trust is the foundation of every relationship. The easiest way to gain trust is to place the needs of other people ahead of your own. Being others focused is the key to establishing trust. The easiest way to show someone you care about their life is to listen more than you talk. When people understand you have their best interests in mind, they will trust you. Second, you must be an adviser. It’s great to have trust and you’ll probably get people telling you a lot of intimate things, but if you don’t give them any advice you’ll never become a trusted adviser, just a trusted listener. Don’t be afraid to give advice to people that trust you. They are telling you about their lives because they need your advice. Don’t run from this opportunity to be influential.