Leslie Higgins is a man without a desk. When introduced in season one of Ted Lasso, he’s the object of derision for his boss, the butt of endless jokes, a loveable doormat. But in a defining moment, he takes a stand and is a man transformed. Everyone loves an unlikely hero and Leslie Higgins (winsomely played by Jeremy Swift) transforms into exactly that. How? By listening to his heart and obeying his conscience, whatever the cost. In time, he becomes a voice of humble wisdom others come to for guidance, a vital friend…a Navigator.

Can You See the Navigator?

Navigators are the friends who give you guidance.

Got a big decision to make? Need someone to help you cut through the clutter? Do you want to focus on what matters most? Are you tired of getting in your own way and making regrettable decisions?

Call on a Navigator. These are the friends who help you think things through and take the right steps.

Can you see your Navigators? They won’t walk wearing a pin that says, “Ask me. I’m a Navigator.” You need to be on the lookout. Look for your most faithful friends and wonderful counselors. Look beyond the external and the superficial.

Mike Sares says, “This is what I think of when I think of a friend. They’re the people who listen to my struggles and give me advice.” Navigators may be your best friends of all.

Free the Navigator

Father Greg Boyle of Home Boy Ministries says, “We don’t help people who need help. We help people who want help.” Father Greg is a Navigator.

Such guiding friends don’t push their agenda on you. They encourage you to use your head, listen to your heart, and pay attention to your gut. They believe in you and trust you to make good decisions…and learn from bad ones.

Do you want help? Do you want to do the right thing right now? If not, you’re in danger of self-sabotage. Navigators may offer to guide you, but you’ll be too busy playing the fool to invite them in.

Seek solid as your Navigator friends. Invite them to listen and to speak into your life. A Navigator will help you remember who you are and operate as your best self.

Be the Navigator

One thing I loved about Season Two of Ted Lasso was how the characters experienced transformation. Some grew from weak to strong, others from nerdy to heroic. Some evolved from hard to humble, while others devolved from likable to lousy. The characters could be so humane, so there for one another. And while a therapist played a pivotal role in the show, most of the help came from everyday people, from friends, co-workers, teammates, or family.

You don’t need a counseling degree to be the Navigator. Just develop the qualities people need: wisdom, empathy, humility, proximity, vulnerability, optimism, realism, practicality, and genuine love. Skills and credentials can help, but it’s not so much your ability as your availability. You don’t have to have answers and you don’t need to fix things. Just be there, listen, and say what God gives you. If he doesn’t seem to give you words, don’t say any.

A Summary of Vital Friends

Thank you for engaging in my take on Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, by Tom Rath. I hope you can see the gift these eight friends are to us all. They are:

  1. The Builder is the friend who pushes you to be better.
  2. The Champion stands up for you.
  3. The Collaborator is the friend you have things in common with.
  4. The Companion stays close for the long haul.
  5. The Connector helps you get what you want.
  6. The Energizer is the friend you have fun with.
  7. The Mind Opener is the friend who helps you stay humble and eager to learn.
  8. The Navigator is the friend who gives you guidance.

Takeaways (Use the Comments box below to tell me…)

1. Who is a vital friend in your life?
2. Which friends can you go to for guidance?
3. What kind of friend do you aspire to be?

Next Week…I will update you on the WINS of 2021 and WISHES for 2022. Thank you for helping us serve servant leaders!

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