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BLOGBuilding Trust: Main Character or Supporting Cast?

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, TrustTagged as: , ,

If you aspire to being a trusted advisor, where is the center of gravity: you, or your clients? A fascinating insight from the world of writing can shed light on this question.

Building Trust: Main Character or Supporting Cast?

Every character in a script needs to see themselves as a main character. But the skill of the writer is to balance all of these “main” characters throughout the arc of the story, to hold the attention of the reader.

This is an exceptionally important concept for those looking to become a more powerful trusted advisor, for two reasons:

  1. It’s all about me
    Consider what it takes to build trust with others. Likely, you will have spent considerable amount of time building your reputation in the market. And then spent time pitching yourself as THE person who has the skills to solve your client’s problems. And then while you are “on the job”, they will be paying you handsomely to listen to everything that you say. Meanwhile, you are juggling schedules, deadlines, and all manner of pressures. You are the main character. It’s all about you.
  2. It’s not all about me
    Trust is not a solo activity — it takes two (or more) parties for trust to develop. The only reason why you are hired is because they trust that you can solve their problem. And while you are “solving”, it certainly isn’t about you — it’s all about them. They are the main character — not you.

Becoming a powerful trusted advisor means recognizing that in the mind of every person that you meet — whether it be a colleague, prospect, client, or even family — in their eyes, they are the main character, not you. You are only a supporting cast member, and might only be making an appearance on one “episode”.


It’s too easy to let ego inflate your opinion of yourself. Powerful trusted advisors subsume their egos, and understand that main characters can only shine when there are exceptionally talented supporting cast members around them. This week, choose a prospect or client, ask yourself two questions: (1) What are the pressures that this main character is thinking about, and (2) What can I do as a supporting cast member, to make them shine?

Related post: Who’s the Client

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