Last August, I emailed a group of ten friends with the following sentiment:
I hope you are all doing well, and that the fall is nice and crisp for you.
Since I’ve been in China, I have been thinking a lot about my support system, and also the ways in which I need or seek validation. With each thought, one or all of you have come up at any given moment in making me feel good about myself, my decisions, my (#)perspective, and my future. In honor of this, I’m asking that you ten serve as my personal Board of Directors. And contrary to other designs of BOD-like support-systems, this one is purely based on people who fill my cup – people who make me feel important, and loved.
I have always struggled with the idea of a professional board of directors, because to me, these individuals are hiring, firing, or constantly evaluating. In this case, I’m looking for love, and for people who, at the core, have my best interests at heart (not, at head, if that makes sense). I won’t require much of you, just constant vibes and positivity (though, you’re already pros at that).
Sometimes I could give two shits about what people think. But most of the time, it’s everything to me. Please let me know if you’d like to go on this journey with me.
More to come…
With much sincerity,
To my surprise, each of these friends agreed to be on this journey with me, and have been life warriors on the front lines of my multi-month transition. To pause and diversify my support system, I went beyond, “my best friend from college,” or, “my people who ___.” I wanted to be intentional, and add a more structured layer of support to my weekly/monthly routine (after all, I’m still a Type A personality, which is certainly not changing anytime soon). To do so, I examined my personal and professional network, and identified the following individuals in my life:
A very intellectually-stimulating person
Someone who “gets the bigger picture”
The most empathetic person I know
The most authentic person I know
Someone who knows my journey, my heart
Someone not afraid to cry with me
The most loyal person I know
Someone who values my voice, my opinion
Someone who has known me longer than most
Someone who is comfortable challenging me
Of course, I am thankful to have considered multiple phenomenal humans under each of these expectations, however the ten individuals who I asked to be part of my personal Board of Directors (BOD) are ones who have provided me with a different experience than I would have had if I simply asked the handful of friends I talk to or see everyday. And more than that, these friends come from all parts of my life – including various points within the many lives I have lived up to this point. This is much bigger than my “right now.” This is the heart of perspective for me, and a chance to honor voices in my life who push me to grow, hope, believe, be. Do.
My first post in the new year challenged people to engage, connect, and collaborate. If you didn’t read it, here’s the gist of my growth-suggestion:
And this has become my challenge for all those reading today’s note: capture your growth.
Sure, I previously referenced resolutions and my belief and advocacy for such dreams, however this is different. This is real and raw, and, in-the-moment, learning. Capture these moments. Get a notebook, email yourself and create a special folder to file these specific emails, and share with yourself any and every learning lesson you experience in 2015. When you get chills, document it. When you have the, oh-shit-ah-ha, moment, save it. Bottle these up, and let them guide you, teach you, train you, and prepare you for the next round of life’s simple gifts. You owe this to yourself.
And if you’re willing to take your learning to an even higher level, share these moments with a friend. Find someone who is dedicated to growth, and use them as a means for processing. Set a bi-weekly coffee meeting (or, “coffee,” for those anti-), and swap notebooks – ask questions, challenge each other, support each other’s ah-ha’s. If you want to grow, and learn, and develop, be about it and do something to elevate your perspective. Be held accountable.
In honor of my continued belief in this sentiment, I want to encourage you to also set up a personal Board of Directors. Who cares about you so much that it scares you? Who cares about you so much that you know, if anyone, they have your back, your voice, and your heart? Who matters in your life? Take this, and run with it. In 2015, ideas are shared like wildfire, and it’s up to us to take the ones that mean something to us… and run with them. Run steady. Run fast.
How are you connecting with your friends, your community, your “network?” Are you merely a click and favorite away from your people, or are you engaging with them in a way which truly makes for change on both ends? Are you being challenged? Are you open to challenge? Are you self-disclosing? Are you connecting?
I dare you to grow. I dare you do go. Do. Be.
*photo stolen from somewhere on social media