Your Board of Directors

On February 20, 2011, in Monday Motivator, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman
“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

The Essence: Best in class companies have a board of directors. You deserve one too.

Each of us can benefit from identifying and cultivating an inner circle. These are those rare people who care about us without condition and are willing to help us become the best possible human beings we can be. We can count on them to be good listeners who ask clarifying questions and are willing to give us motivating feedback when we need it.

In “Who’s Got Your Back“, Keith Ferrazzi‘s follow up to “Never Eat Alone“, the relationship guru states that leadership is, in fact, a spiritual journey requiring courage, motivation, discipline and commitment. The best leaders seek advisers to fill in our experiential blanks, to take our creative force past the boundaries of paradigm and to reel us back in when we walk a little too close to the cliffs.

Your ability to succeed is directly related to your willingness to ask for help.

And that’s where your board of directors comes in.

Here are some suggested positions you might want to include in your board.

A Soul Mate – H. Jackson Brown, Jr. says, “Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery”. Choose carefully. Having the right partner by your side can either supercharge your ability to seek happiness, or torpedo it.

A Doctor – Don’t trust your health to a PA at the local doc in the box. Seek out a physician who can give you quality time, and isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to do to stay healthy. If your body isn’t working well, neither will you.

A Financial Adviser – Ultimately, each of us wants to develop a successful personal brand that generates enough revenue to sustain us throughout our life. Planning your financial future should begin early and you need to schedule regular check-ups to adjust your game plan to the changing environment. I prefer a fee-based adviser, rather than someone who makes a buck each time I trade a stock.

A Spiritual Guide – I recently had lunch with my good friend Sue Carter. Among her many achievements is a spiritual quest that culminated in ordination. Sue believes that we’re all spiritual people, whether or not we believe in a god or identify with a religious tradition. Finding someone who can help you wrestle with the unknowable can give you strength when the unthinkable happens.

Your Best Friend(s) – The definition of true friendship deserves it’s own post. But the readers digest version is this: Real friends love you no matter what. They know you well enough to have a sixth sense for where it hurts. And the care enough to call bullshit on you when you need it. They are active listeners who seek to understand and have egos that aren’t easily bruised when you’re not at your best. If your lucky you may have a couple of people that truly fit this description. If you do,  you’re likely to be an adviser on their board, too.

Contractors – This word describes those individuals that come in and out of your life depending on your needs. Your personal trainer, an excellent teacher, a therapist, someone who can help you focus on improving a specific skill, these are the specialists who help you develop and perfect the skills and daily behaviors that implement your life plan.

There may be others who you’ll want to add. This is -your- board so construct it to fit your needs. The fundamental traits you’ll seek are generosity, transparency and accountability. You expect it from them and they expect it from you.

The most successful companies in the world have a board of directors made up of smart people who are dedicated to the organization’s sustainable success.

Don’t you deserve that kind of dedication too?

Have a great week!

Feedback welcome to or @MSUScottW on Twitter.

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