The Personal Board of Directors Meeting: Synergy and Inspiration in Action

This week, I attended my first meeting of my friend’s personal board of directors.  Find out what happens when a trusted group of friends and advisors assembles in person with the goal of helping another person figure out her career path.

This week, an interesting assortment of people–a personal board of directors– got together to help a mutual friend figure out her career path.   My friend is a talented, innovative brilliant young musician who is getting her doctorate at a prominent conservatory.

She had heard of the concept of a personal board of directors—the people in your life who support your vision and to whom you turn when you want honest and trustworthy advice, when you are looking for help in figuring out solutions to your challenges.  My friend—the innovator that she is– had even gone so far as to create a the list of people on her personal board:
•    An internationally famous professional musician
•    A retired business executive
•    A retired media executive
•    Her best friend from childhood
•    Her boyfriend/life partner, also an early-stage professional musician
•    I, a lawyer and life coach who knows a thing or two about creating career success in the music world.

I myself have a personal board of directors consisting of the important people in my life to whom I turn on an individual basis for business or personal advice.  I also have attended and even chaired dozens of meetings of board meetings of the non-profit organizations that I am involved with.  However, I have never been to a meeting of a personal board of directors so I was really curious to see what one was like.  I suspect that my fellow board members felt the same way.

The results were better than anyone could have imagined.

My friend posed her career challenge and the professional musician quickly responded with the answer on how to meet this particular goal.  Our meeting might have ended right then and there until the retired business executive offered “In my world, young people get their career start by doing…..”  All of a sudden the ideas started flying!  We all piped up with observations from our various worlds.  When our friend expressed some doubt on her ability to do some of these things, the childhood friend was there to remind her that she had always succeeded in anything that she had put her mind to.  Her boyfriend provided an additional layer of comfort from her more recent experiences.  I was able to coach her into figuring out which of the many ideas would have the biggest immediate impact on her life and what she was prepared to commit to do.

The end result was that the conversation was much bigger than our friend had envisioned, that she was inspired with the bold, creative ideas that were put forth, her perspectives broadened considerably and most importantly, she felt incredibly supported in her life venture.

For myself as a board member, I was thrilled that we were able to provide new insights to our friend.  I was also inspired by the creativity of our group and quite amazed at the power of this process.  We spent the rest of the evening getting to know one another better and we have already arranged to set up another meeting!

Two observations:

1.    I am a firm believer that successful people surround themselves with the right support.  This board meeting reinforced this concept.  For those who think that successful people do it entirely on their own, think again!
2.    There is magic in a successful group dynamic.  In our case, we were truly greater than the sum of the individual parts.

One more thing.

As we were leaving the meeting, the boyfriend asked my friend for a pen. “Why?” she asked?  “Because,” he responded, ” I got some great ideas in there as well!”