As has been said, “No man [or woman] is an island.” The deeper meaning of the famous poem by this title may be somewhat philosophical: that we are all part of a bigger unit such as the world, a country, a family, or something. The less deep but equally serious meaning is more like,
- why go it alone?
- try reaching out to others from time to time to seek advice and larger perspective.
Regular readers of TGIF 2 Minutes may be thinking that Debbs has lost her mind here but the related idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors” has been worthy of featuring for some time. Coincidentally Brett Danko, my business partner and the principal and founder of Main Street Financial Solutions LLC, recently presented a similar topic including having and regularly consulting with a Personal Board of Directors which inspired this edition.
The idea is not new. However, compiling and counselling with a group of confidantes, experts, trustworthy friends, and the like is still a fresh endeavor. Of course, the obvious member of this “board” could be a financial adviser or specific specialist. But the less obvious and equally as important board members could also be:
- people we know who have endured personal, business or family challenges
- inspiring friends who are consistently positive and proactive
- people we know well currently or from a specific activity in our past who lead or led a successful organization, project, or venture
- impactful leaders of a church group or volunteer organization in our community
- at most basic, a person who can be sought out to provide thoughtful, patient, and strategic advice when needed.
The Personal Board of Directors can be consulted regarding decisions of all sorts – personal, financial, and professional. For example,
- How to handle challenging work situations as an employee or boss
- When to seek a job promotion and when/how to dig into current status
- How to learn from the personal and professional mistakes of others
- Decisions involving kids’ schooling
- Family “situations” and how to navigate
- Health challenges, illness, or more urgent situations
In a world where seemingly nearly all the answers are in the palm of our hands or can be produced by individual effort, there is still a place for seeking and collecting advice and counsel from “the right people”.
It is an act of humility – and what can be mistakenly perceived as weakness – to ask for advice. Think about the mistakes others have made and the lessons learned that can be sought out and learned simply by asking a “board member.” Immediate answers may not be the primary goal. Patience and thoughtfulness can produce lessons for a lifetime.