You probably fancy yourself a smart guy and think you have life figured out. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but you don’t. Not by a long shot. There are too many crazy twists and turns through life and you can't possibly figure them all out yourself. You need someone to really bounce things off of — someone that will tell you like it is without blowing smoke up your ass. You need an adviser. Or as they say in the Godfather, a "consigliere."
You may think that you don’t have the clout of a Vito Corleone, but your empire is every bit as important as his was. If you have any doubt, go check on your kids while they're sleeping and tell me they’re not worth taking a bullet for — “Sonny Style.”
It's time to find your own Tom Hagen.
We can't go this alone for 80 years. The problem is that your head and your heart get in the way of making the right decisions from time to time (read about why you should always trust your gut). Those decisions are the make or break times in your life. It’s usually because you really want someone or something to be a certain way, and our brains have a way of justifying just about anything.
This adviser isn't your spouse, your mentor or anyone else who has an agenda or so much invested in your life that they can't give you the advice you need. A consigliere is your voice of reason.
Without my consigliere, there’s a damn good chance I would have lost everything that means something to me. Everything. When life comes crashing down around you it's really easy to lose your head. It's human nature. That where the voice of reason comes in. The voice of reason thinks when you can't.
When choosing your adviser, it doesn’t have to be your oldest friend or sibling, but he/she does need to be in your inner circle because you’re going to be trusting this person with the keys to your kingdom. They also need to be level-headed. This is where my consigliere has been so crucial to my life.
I tend to be emotional and have more of a tendency to go all “William Wallace” on a situation when all it calls for is sitting back and waiting for the right moment before striking. Just like when Michael Corleone waited it out in Sicily. He came back at the right time, then struck ... big.
The difference between an adviser and the rest of your friends is that an adviser has balls. The rest, while they may care about you; are "yes" men. They don't want to get involved in your real life - the messy stuff (and we all have messy stuff). They like to kick back, drink beer and bust your balls. We need those friends too, but when there is war, they're not going to the mattresses with you.
Your adviser tells you when you're being an asshole, when you're not making the right decision or when you should sleep on something. Mine told me the best advice I ever got: wait. It seems like very simple, easy advice. But in my case it was the toughest thing in the world for a guy like me to do. I strike. I act. I take care of things. But this time, I waited. Turned out to be brilliant advice.
This again comes back to a common theme I've written about lately: trust. You have to put your trust in someone to get this kind of direction, but it's worth it. Do your due diligence and handing over that trust just might end up saving your life.
Then pay it back and do the same for someone meaningful.