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When you’re facing a tough career decision, it’s helpful to have a phone-a-friend at the ready, someone who can act as a sounding board, and who also has your best interests at heart.

But, according to career experts Antoinette Clarke (a VP at CBS) and Tricia Clarke (co-founder of a marketing and advertising agency), one isn’t enough. The co-authors of Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Succeed on Your Own Terms say that when building up your inner circle, there are three types of people you need to rely on to keep you on the path to a successful career.

The first? You need a guru. “This is someone who helps you see the horizon,” Tricia explains. “They see the potential in you before you see it in yourself.” This is the person who will push you to throw your hat in the ring for that in-house director position.

Next up, find yourself an ace. “This person has your back no matter what and is also someone who will call you out on your sh**,” says Antoinette. If your work hasn’t quite been up to par, they’ll be the first to let you know. 

Finally, it’s important to have a work wife. “This is someone who you can roll with at the office and who you can lean on as you both rise up together,” Tricia adds. Having someone to support you (and laugh with you), will totally help get you through those rough days.

The benefit of having these three people in your life is that they become your own personal board of advisors, meaning you can call on them anytime you have a big life decision—career-related or not, both Antoinette and Tricia can attest.

One thing’s for sure: We like this lineup. 

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