We all face challenges in life, both big and small. Whether it’s a personal issue like a break-up or job loss, or a professional setback like a failed business venture, we can all benefit from some sage advice from those who have gone through similar experiences.
But who do you turn to for guidance in these challenging moments? Friends and family are often the first people we turn to, but they may not always be the best people to give us the unbiased advice we need to make tough decisions.
That’s why I adopted the practice of creating my own personal board of directors, a group of people I can turn to for advice and guidance on both personal and professional matters.
Surrounding Yourself with the Right People
It’s crucial to the process to choose people who are aligned with your values and who have the experience and wisdom to offer helpful advice. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing your personal board of directors – we all need something a little different.
Here are some tips I’ve found to work for me:
1. Look for people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
No one knows everything. It’s best to seek out advisors or mentors who have experience in specific areas. If you need help with finances, look for someone who is financially savvy. If you’re going through a difficult period in a relationship, look for someone who is adept at giving relationship advice. To have a well-rounded group of people to turn to for guidance, seek out those with different backgrounds and experiences.
2. Find people who are measured and level-headed.
Emotionally reactive people may not be the best advisors when you’re facing a difficult decision. Instead, look for people who are level-headed and able to see both sides of the issue. These are the people who will be able to provide you with the best advice, free from their own agendas.
3. Choose people who are open-minded.
This is key. You want advisors who are willing to listen to your situation and give you honest feedback, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
It’s equally important to find people who can hold space for you without judgment. No one wants to feel as if they’re being judged when they’re seeking advice. Entrusting unbiased people who will listen without admonishing you allows you to feel more comfortable sharing your challenges with them.
4. Avoid advice from those who aren’t where you want to be.
This is a big one. When people give advice, they pull from their own experiences – good and bad. So, if you’re seeking advice from someone who isn’t where you want to be in life, their guidance will likely land you where they are now rather than where you want to be.
For example, if you’re trying to save money and get out of debt, you wouldn’t ask for advice from a friend who’s in debt. Instead, find someone who is where you want to be financially and pick their brain.
5. Be intentional about the relationships.
Time and wisdom are precious. When you find good people who are willing to share them with you, appreciate those relationships and try to offer something in return. Don’t just receive; figure out how you can add value to the relationship as well. We all have rich, unique experiences, insights, and skillsets we can share with others to help them in their own journey.
Developing your own personal board of directors is a process, and it may take some time to find the right mix of people. But once you do, you’ll have a go-to group of wise advisors you can rely on for guidance and support.