A Life That Matters Wisdom for Work

Who’s in Your Tight 5?


Don’t Go it Alone

Whether you’re a leader in life, work or both it can be challenging constantly dealing with responsibilities and changes let alone your own aspirations. Frankly, it gets lonely as a leader at times.

Trying to go it alone, however, is not wise.

I have a simple but powerful recommendation for you. Develop your own personal sounding board or, to borrow from rugby, your own “tight 5.” Here’s what I mean.

A tight 5 is a group of people you trust to back you no matter what. They’re people you know, whose opinion you trust, and who you can ask the tough questions to knowing they’ll treat you with respect, challenge you where needed, and support you all the way.

About three years ago I knew I was going to sail into some pretty rough water, mostly on the personal front. I knew myself well enough to know that without the close support and help of some trusted personal advisors, I was going to struggle too much.

I Formed a Tight 5

So, I sat down one day and thought, “If I was going to pull together a small group of people whom I trusted and whose advice I respected, to help me through this next phase, who would I ask?”

I made a list of five people and then emailed them telling them I would really value their support for some coming difficulties.

Without exception, they all responded with a hearty “Of course, Rob! Let me know how I can help.

I didn’t ever bring them all together in one group, I just met, Skyped or called each one when I needed to either:

  • talk an idea through
  • share a difficult emotion
  • ask for counsel.

It worked brilliantly. I felt supported, understood and helped by approaching and talking to these wonderful, wise people.

Sure, the anticipated challenges still came, still made life very tough, and in some cases still knocked me over. But with a tight 5 there was always someone there to help me up.

Choose Carefully

When putting together your own tight 5, consider this:

  1. Who can you deeply trust because they’ve proven themselves to you before?
  2. Who’ll not just be a ‘yes’ man to your ideas?
  3. Who is sufficiently available to be around when you call or meet them?
  4. Who’ll not try to tell you what to do, but will listen and help you think it through?
  5. Who walks the talk in the areas you want support for?

Set Them Up to Succeed

The wise and experienced among them will have a fairly good idea how to support you in the way you need, especially if you demonstrate some vulnerability and level with them about what you’re experiencing and exactly how you’re feeling.

But I found it helpful to outline to each person what support I needed from them. It even went as far as me saying, “I’m going to need you to ring me up once a week just to touch base with me, OK?

So, set them up to succeed by telling them what you need from them.

Have Them on Standby

Whether you know you’re going to need this kind of support, or whether you’re currently OK, form a personal sounding board like this now. It takes time to do so and if you suddenly strike difficulties or challenges where you need the help of a tight 5, you want them ready to call.

So, don’t go it alone.

Form your own tight 5.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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  • Karen Ross Oct 11,2016 at 9:38 pm

    Love this concept, Rob, thanks for the inspiration – so important for sole business owners and leaders hanging out at the top on their own. I am going to get my Tight 5 more officially sorted thanks to your wisdom here. Thank you 🙂

    • Rob Bialostocki Nov 3,2016 at 4:57 pm

      Great! Glad to know it’s helpful – its been invaluable to me over the past few years.

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