This happened to me after the 2013 NASPA IV-E Women in Student Affairs Drive In Conference. During the Senior Level Panel discussion, Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin of Northwestern University posed the question: "Are you the go-to person? If not, how do you become the go-to person?" This question and this thought has been constantly going in and out of my mind since June. As I think about this notion of being the go-to person, I ask myself a series of questions along with that:
Do I want to be the go-to person?
If so, to whom do I want to be to go-to person for?
What am I the go-to person for?
Am I prepared to be the go-to person for whatever that is?
If not, how do I prepare myself?
And all importantly, how the heck do I position myself to be the "Go-To" person?
I know, call me a thinker, a reflector, a worry wart, but two of my top 5 strengths are futuristic and strategic, so my long lists of questions seems to make sense; at least to me anyway.
Over the summer, I really begin to process what this meant to me. What is my definition of being the go-to person and how will I know that I am successful in becoming it. I wanted, well actually needed, to make sense of this for myself. I did not want to use anyone else's definition of success because I wanted to set realistic expectations for myself based on my goals. Trying to achieve another person's version of success can sometimes be a daunting and impossible task especially if they are not based on your values.
Being a go-to person to me means the following:
1. I have a solid reputation and individuals see me as having some level of competence and expertise in a certain area.
2. I have a strong support system and individuals will speak highly of me and advocate for me even when I am not in the room.
3. I am looked upon to serve in a variety of capacities specifically being a change maker.
4. I am trusted to create and implement new initiatives and strategic priorities.
As I continue to grow as a professional, I am confident that I am achieving in these 4 areas. I constantly review them and adapt accordingly, thinking about ways I can be better and how I can continue to move forward in each of them.
How do you define being the go-to person? As you recollect on your professional journey, have you been the go-to person? In what areas? If this is a desire for you to become the go-to person, what steps do you need to take to get there? How will you measure if you are successful?
I hope that my thought process has sparked you to take time and chew on this for yourself. Feel free to tweet me @Bdenisecole and tell me what being the go-to person means to you, and/or comment on this post as well.