Your Personal Board of Directors

By Jay Forte

There is an expression: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”

We can’t help but be influenced by those around us. So consider this: how wise and selective are you about who you hang out with, who you listen to, who you read and who you follow?

Organizations have a board of directors, a group of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who provide counsel to help management see past the myopic day-to-day events and to understand and focus on the larger view. The board is intentionally made up of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to help the organization see and consider things in a broader and more diverse way.

Now imagine: what if you had a personal board of directors?

As a coach, I always recommend my clients create a personal board of directors, comprised of those go-to voices in life that you trust to give you sound, clear, honest feedback. People who care about you and your ability to fully self-realize.

Your personal board of directors is for you to hand-select. When considering who to add to your personal board of directors, consider:

  • Who in your life can mentor, support or guide you when it is needed?
  • Who can provide honest, caring and meaningful feedback?
  • Who can be relied on to speak from their heart?
  • Who can be direct yet supportive and caring?
  • Who has perspectives that you value and trust?
  • Who can enable expanded thinking to help you explore areas you may not have considered to help you achieve your potential?

There’s no right or wrong number of people to have on your personal board of directors. I, personally, have four. They are my go-to sources when I have something important to consider or decide, or when I want to expand my perspectives to get past a blind spot.

I don’t go to them all the time. But when I do, I know they will be there – wise, present and interested in helping me.

So, consider creating your personal board of directors in 2018. Who will you select?

Remember, this is not a popularity contest. Think about who will provide wise, caring, supportive guidance and perspectives to help you sort through some of life’s situations, challenges and opportunities. Consider inviting them onto your personal board of directors. There is no requirement that those close to you be on your board. You may find your board members come from your professional life or are people you have met over the years.

You may be asking yourself, why would someone want to be on my personal board of directors?

The answer: they care about you. You make them feel important. They feel their opinions and perspectives matter. And they learn about themselves and their own perspectives as they help you with yours.

It is truly a win-win.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. Think about the people you admire most. Why do you admire them?
  2. What behaviors, goals, etc. from those you admire do you want to mirror and implement in your own life?
  3. How can a personal board of directors help you get and stay focused in your life?


Consider reading How to Deliver Employee Feedback that Gets Heard

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