Building Your Personal “Board of Directors”

My dad and I have a standing date at Chili’s. Something about the way they serve their beverages in pub-style mugs and the perfect crispness of their tortilla chips keeps us coming back, year after year.

At our Chili’s dinners, we cover a multitude of topics. Usually, Carolina basketball (my dad is a UNC alum) works its way into the mix, followed by what we’ve both been interested in lately, new movies, shows, or books we’ve heard about, and there’s always some fatherly wisdom thrown into the conversation. On our most recent visit, we got on the topic of how the kinds of people you surround yourself with have a greater impact on you than you might imagine; it was at this point in the conversation that my dad enlightened me on the idea of building my own personal “board of directors.” He is in corporate management and thus has lots of experience on how things can function well in the business realm – all of which usually goes right over my head. However, this time was different, and when he laid out to me the idea of applying a board of directors to my own life – I was enthralled. 

Almost every successful company has a board of directors or a group of people brought together to provide oversight and give feedback to company management. A company will bring in individuals with various experience or skills to give a specific perspective on an area that management might not be able to fix or figure out on their own. Here’s where it began to click for me: think of your life as the “company” where you are the CEO.

We all have that book we swear by, podcast we simply cannot get enough of, or fictional character who appears to be everything we want to be. That Instagram account whose captions we share on our stories weekly. The public figure whose outfits inspire our own closets. We (or at least I know I do) take in so much information and content, sift through it, and pull out what we want to take away or hold on to. I often find myself lost in it all, sometimes feeling that it might be too much. Enter your board of directors. Who inspires you? What book do you go back to that’s helped you the most? What podcast do you tune into every week to seek advice or counsel? Whose quotes are you writing in your journal? Figure out what these are for you, and add them to your board. Form your own group of people or outlets that challenge you, provide perspective and bring insight on areas that you have a hard time with on your own. Create various “roles” or areas that are important to you, and fill them accordingly. You are the CEO, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a few trusted “board members” to help you out from time to time.

The great thing about your board is that it will grow and change with you. Certain board roles might diminish or become greater based on where you’re at in life. On my hypothetical board of directors, the “fashion inspiration role” is a revolving door based on my style at the time, and that’s the best part! Your board is never set in stone. When I was a high school senior wanting to get into UNC, I had a few people that told me to set my sights a little lower. Guess who filled my “motivation role” at that time? Elle Woods from Legally Blonde inspired me that year, and now I have a “What? Like it’s hard?” sticker on my laptop to remind myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.

You are the CEO of your life, and you get to choose who brings you counsel and inspires you. Pick individuals that challenge you. Add at least one person who knows you personally and who you want to be. Have fun with the rest. Who will be on your board of directors?


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(1) Comment

  1. James says:

    You’re on my board

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