I liked Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It was exciting, surprising and nerve-wracking to witness who would roll the dice, what they knew and when they needed help. One of my favorite concepts was the “lifeline”. When stuck, the player could cast a lifeline to someone in their life who they felt could offer the BEST support in this situation.

Who is your leadership lifeline?
This is a special kind of friend or colleague who will not argue for your limitations. Rather, they will call you to a higher place of wisdom and action. They will not let you sit in a victim mentality for long. Instead, they will help you find your contribution and your creative way to solving your issue. They will not rescue you or pity you. What they WILL do is compassionately hold space or wisely ask the right questions to get you moving again.

How many times do we get triggered by a person, place or thing (think your politically-opposite relative at the last family gathering)? Human nature says to sit in the trigger, justify the feelings, judge the other and be righteous in our own mis-guided feelings. When we are unconscious, we will seek out those friends and colleagues who will agree with us, help us justify our position, pat our heads, sit in judgement with us and help us stay stuck in our righteousness. OK, be real…you know you have either done this or been THAT person.

The person who is Your Lifeline won’t play the justification game with you. That’s why they may be the THIRD OR FOURTH person you reach out to. You reach out when you are tired of feeling like a victim or if you are on to yourself and really want to win this game of Leadership Mastery. If you are lucky or committed to practicing your EQ on a daily basis, perhaps they are the first call you will make. You see the worm-hole you are about to descend into and need that extra boost to stay the leadership course. Thank heaven for the lifeline friends!

What about you? Are you willing to be a Lifeline for the people in your life.

Lifeline Tips:

  • You are neutral and don’t take on the other person’s issue or point of view.
  • You stay open to their experience without judgment of the feelings they are having.
  • You neither agree nor disagree with their point of view.
  • You hold an intention that they are greater and more powerful than the trigger they are currently experiencing. You hold that intention STRONGLY.
  • You ask great open-ended questions that help them to make leadership decisions.
  • When appropriate, you offer wisdom or feedback directly and without leading them to your own agenda.
  • You never take credit for the outcome, remembering you are a vehicle – a lifeline – for them to create their own powerful outcomes.

Being a Lifeline for another leader requires a high level of Emotional Intelligence.

  • You are willing to acknowledge that you and the other person have feelings and judging those feelings is not useful.
  • You accept your own feeling and triggers and learn to manage them well, knowing in that action you become a beacon of hope for others still navigating these tricky waters.
  • You are committed to practicing key skills of listening, inquiry, feedback and finding an internal neutral place so that, overtime, you are not only a Lifeline, you are a JEDI-MASTER Lifeline.

There is no greater honor than to be asked to support another person’s emotional growth. The key to mutual success is to know how to and BE an Emotionally Intelligent Leader.

Stay Inspired!



Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

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