Friday, March 18, 2011

The Board of Directors

I spoke with a friend the other day who told me of a genius plan, and then I forgot about it until Lucy's comment on my salary post reminded me.

Both my friend and Lucy have some people who tell it like it is -- people who can be both brutally honest and totally supportive. It's more than a group of friends. It's also a group of mentors, coaches, drill sergeants, headhunters, therapists, advisors, bs-detectors, and brainstormers. This group of people is a board of directors.

From wikipedia: A board's activities are determined by the powers, duties, and responsibilities delegated to it or conferred on it by an authority outside itself.

In my friend's case, she literally had a group of women with whom she'd meet up about once a month at a downtown restaurant or bar. They'd discuss their careers, their love lives, their finances. They'd write up plans of action and make mind-maps with post-it notes. They bluntly told one another when they were being underpaid, when they were settling for a guy, and when they were being a bitch. It was a no-holds-barred but because-we-love-you truthfest.

Interestingly, I know someone else on my friend's board of directors, completely unrelated to how I know her. In my opinion, both of these women are With It. They're Smart and Going Places. They're Kicking Butt and Taking...well, you get the idea. Is that a coincidence? I don't think so.

I don't have a formal board of directors for my life, but I'm thinking of forming one. Here's my list:

President: Peanut. As my husband, he has to help me guide this ship. His advice weighs more than anyone else's.

Board Members

Friend A. I've known her longer than anyone except my siblings, and she has always been the first to set me straight, particularly about relationships and when I get stuck wallowing in something.
Sister. Luckily for us, my sister and I are good friends. In addition to having someone understand where I came from, I trust her judgment on things. Also, it's nice to have a lawyer in the family. :)
Blogger-friends. Money is a fairly taboo subject among my circles of friends, so I've really appreciated the bloggers that I've been able to befriend around the blogosphere. More than once I've had a problem that I wasn't comfortable posting about, but the bloggers I reached out to were available by email to brainstorm and weigh in with their experiences.

While I'm not sure I'll ever set up a formal board of directors for my life the way my friend did, I'm certainly going to keep it in mind to actually reach out to people who I feel can offer me advice on my life, and ask them for their input.

Do you have a board of directors in your life? Who's on it?

5 comments:

  1. I have toyed around with this idea for a while now. It's hard to formally organize a group that regularly meets like your friend does. Especially when mentors come in all different shapes and sizes. Mentors from a professional work environment to a trustworthy friend or casual colleague.
    As for my own board of directors, its very informal. I would like to eventually shift it in that direction. All three of my sisters, a couple close friends, the s/o and a few college friends that chose the similar careers.

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  2. this is interesting I was thinking about this the other day. I don't have an official board who I meet with, but I've build a reliable group of people who help me manage life. It includes a few great friends, a few great doctors who I am super tight with and will help with anything (including acupuncturist), a group of work colleauges who I trust (and also consider friends), a few people I like to do adventuresome things with in LA, and of course parents.
    When I moved from NY to LA 5 years ago, I gradually started to built this mini community of support, unintentionally, but I was thinking about it the other day so glad you wrote this!

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  3. I had a mentor who called her group of smart ladies (and men) her cabinet. I loved the idea, and have subconsciously formed my own board/cabinet over the years.

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  4. I wrote about this idea last year (http://emily-jane.net/2010/09/22/personal-board/) so I was totally interested to hear someone else's thoughts! I absolutely love the idea of having a personal board of directors.

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  5. I wrote about this idea last year (http://emily-jane.net/2010/09/22/personal-board/) so I was totally interested to hear someone else's thoughts! I absolutely love the idea of having a personal board of directors.

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Thanks for commenting!