Each time this year, I find myself re-newing myself. It is such an odd time of the year. One would think the New Year or spring time would foster this important growth, but the fall does this to me. It reminds me starting fresh with the school year and as the seasons change, the fall is a time for inner reflection as I learned last year. It is timely as my birthday approaches, because to me, that is my new year. So for the next month until my birthday, I am allowing you inside my heart, my past and understanding my broken road to the person I have become today. I am starting light and going to ask you to think about “Who is on Your “Personal Board of Directors?”
I can’t take responsibility for this saying. I was sitting at the Leadership Summit of the church we were attending at the time in 2006 when I heard Jim Collins, the author from Good to Great speak to the lead pastor. He began to speak about his “Personal Board of Directors.” After some time, he then asked us: “Who is on Your Personal Board of Directors?” I was fascinated by this idea in just how cool it sounded. He stated you need 7 key players and I began thinking who were the key people in my life that influenced me, helped me to be a better person in my career and in my life. These key players should be of different backgrounds, whether educational, religious or of different origins, where one comes from and their beliefs should vary enough to give you a well-rounded board. They should also stimulate self-renewal, so you don’t get stagnant in your professional life, keep to your core-values and remain true to your goals.
As a new Christian, I was like well, duh, of course God, but I did not have a very good understanding on what that meant or how that looked. It took some maturing on my part later in life. I came up with 4 names right away. Besides God, my husband, my Career Coach, my chiropractor, and my bestie from high school who lived out of state.
The first four are obvious, but my chiropractor? Yes, she truly inspires me to be great, she is truly one of THE smartest women I know, yes borderline genius. She plants these seeds in my head that forces me to critically think in ways that challenge me, go outside my comfort zone to be a better person. Not only is she good at getting the kinks out of my back, but the mental and emotional component is unique to the service she offers to me. I can email her on a whim and she will get back to me with an answer really fast and she is a busy working mom herself.
My bestie from high school who lives out of state. I found it to be important to have someone who is not involved in my community to have the ability to see things from a different perspective. She has a creative eye and I wish she lived closer so we could have a cup of coffee after taking some fitness dance class.
I have also added another friend from the east coast since then, who lived in Chicago for a short time as her husband was working on his MBA here in Chicago. Our husbands went to undergrad together, we became awesome friends, and I value her opinion, a lot. She is straight-up honest and doesn’t hold back at all. We can laugh about it and all is cool. I respect and like that about her and you need someone who can do that to you.
My Career Coach. I accidentally ran into her at my previous job while creating a women’s only health fair. She invited me to come to one of their Women in Management meetings and I found myself in a support group for women who held management positions. I was in a tough place and I hired her. I have been seeing her since 2005 and I have not looked back. I can email her to ask her a question, get her professional opinion or just say ‘it’s that time” and she is ready with dates and times for us to meet. We catch up, assess, create goals and begin putting them into action. She understands me, my strengths and weaknesses as a professional and gives sound, solid advice.
My husband, while an obvious choice, keeps me grounded and supports my ideas, even the crazy ones that have failed. He really puts things in ways that I cannot see at the time that lifts me up and allows me to pursue my ventures. I find it to be important that woman have a strong support system at home. My husband also values the importance of finding yourself after the kids are born and re-creating myself has not been an easy task, even the many times I have felt like throwing in the towel because it was getting to be too much.
What I need is a spiritual mentor. As I grow more into my faith, I am noticing I am really hungry for spiritual growth. Earlier this year, when I had my Teen Mom moment on the airplane, I reached out to someone asking them for spiritual guidance. They forwarded the email to their personal assistant asking to find a date and time so we could talk. I was actually quite hurt by this, put off and decided that this obviously would not work. I think I know who I would like this person to be, but I am praying about it.
There you have it. It is not my super 7 as Jim Collins state it should be, but they have been on my personal board since I have heard Jim speak. They really don’t know they have been slated to be on my board, but they are my go-to’s.
I had the honor of hearing Jim Collins speak again at a national industry conference later that year. I have read his book Good to Great. Many don’t know that I seriously considered double majoring in Organizational Development while working on my Master’s in Public Health. I just find that stuff so very interesting. (I was an MPH/MBA major) I took a few classes, but never had the chance to finish the second master’s and that is ok. Looking back at that time in my life, my one and only board member didn’t approve it (my husband, then boyfriend at the time) and it was truly a “great” decision.
The picture is from Free Digital Photos.