It's so easy for us as busy leaders and entrepreneurs to get caught up in the swing of things that the result is our vision and decision-making ability becomes extremely cloudy. I can almost guarantee that at some point throughout your life, when you were either going through a difficult time, lacked direction or felt confused about something, one of the first things you did was seek counsel from someone you trusted.
This person could have been your spouse, mother, father, sibling, grandparents or a best friend.
Then, after you got done explaining your situation or whatever was on your mind, chances are, this person chimed in with his or her take on that sitution.
And, even if you didn't necessarily agree 100 percent, you felt better than you had before. That's because of the incredible power you gain having a panel of trusted critics in your life. These are the people that can be completely honest with you while having your best interests at heart -- people whom you fully trust.
How the "panel" idea materialized.
I learned the tremendous power of having a panel of trusted critics one afternoon after delivering a keynote presentation to a group of 700 sales professionals. One thing I absolutely love about traveling all over the world and speaking to groups from different industries is the time I get to spend with leaders and high achievers before and after I take the stage.
I love to hear their stories and what makes them tick. But that one afternoon was different. And I say "different" because I wasn't expecting to hear a method that totally revolutionized how I view the opinions of those I trust.
In fact, the managing director of a medical device company began to explain that a major thing that had helped him get to where he is today was his panel of trusted critics. He went on to say, "You know what, Matt? When you were speaking about the impact that having mentors and studying the lives of other great men and women had had on your life, I was reminded of my own little practice involving others that has, without a doubt, been the main reason why I am in the position I am, earn the amount of money I do and have the family life I have.
"I have a panel of selected critics I go to whenever I need a second voice, opinion or advice on something. But the one area that they help me the most with are those times of uncertainty and adversity. I can always count on them to tell me what I need to hear in that exact moment."
What he said to me really hit home. I started to look back at some of the darkest times of my life, some of the biggest failures of my life, and to notice a pattern. I sought counsel from outside resources. Whether it was someone that I loved more than this world, such as God and my parents, or a good friend whom I knew I could count on: Their advice and opinions always seemed to bring me comfort even in the most uncertain times of my life.
Make your own list.
That night, after the event, on the plane back to Chicago, I took out a sheet of paper and put together a list of five trusted critics. Fast-forward to the present, and I can see how this pecial group of trusted critics have played an enormous role in my life, and ultimately helped me get to where I am today. Sometimes, we need someone else to chime in and tell us how it is, especially during the troubling times.
I encourage you to take some time right now to take out a sheet of paper and write down at least five people who could serve as a trusted critic in your life. Think of them as your own special advisory board. These people will always tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. They will consistently challenge you to be better, and you can always count on them when you need an honest voice or opinion.
It doesn't matter if each of these people is a family member, colleague or spouse. All that matters is that you fully trust them and that they have your best interest at heart. Ideally, you want to enlist someone who is further ahead in life than you, someone who can basically serve as a mentor.
Here are two key benefits that you will experience when you take the time to form your own panel of trusted critics.
You'll get out of your comfort zone more often.
One of the biggest benefits of having a panel of trusted critics in your life is that you will step out of your comfort zone more often. There have been plenty of times in my life where I wanted to seek comfort instead of growth, but the people that I had in my inner circle were there to help keep me on track.
They were able to help me get out of my own way and see things for what they really were. Constantly getting out of your comfort zone is absolutely imperative if you want to achieve greatness; and when you have the right people in your life that you can count on, they will help you do just that.
You'll become more successful.
Having the right men and women on your panel of trusted critics will drastically help you become more successful. You will be motivated to get big things done instead of just going through the motions. You'll learn from adversity instead of running away from it, and be forced to face reality instead of living in the land of make believe.
I am naturally very motivated; I have always been that way for the most part. However, motivation can only get you so far. The number of lessons that I have learned, the wisdom that I have gained and the breakthroughs I have experienced from having the right people by my side are endless in number.
So, will having a panel of trusted critics and special mentors in your life automatically make you a major success? Of course not. But what it will do is serve as a catalyst for massive growth and help you become the best version of yourself.