Corporations have Boards of Directors to represent the shareholders’ interest, to steer the organization towards a sustainable future, define and adhere to its mandates, etc. They do so with their expertise, experience, and insight into matters relevant to the organization. But what if that corporation was you? And its operations your life? Who would you have on your Board of Directors?
This was a concept I first analogized in 2019 while reading Designing Your Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. It’s about as influential a book as any has been on me and I would recommend as much as any other book I’ve read. In one part, it suggested you, the reader, identify people in your life who could advise you in specific areas of your life that you’d like to get advice on, often and/or in important moments. You’ve identified these people for those roles because you’ve convinced yourself they have opinions, perspectives, and other attributes you value in their assigned area of expertise. Then you ask those people to become your advisor/s in those areas, for the reasons you’ve identified why you want them, so they know and feel appreciated.
This is in contrast to what many people do, which is run to a few or handful of people for advice on anything and everything, or at least not generally well delineated. You can still go to all those people, like a Parent, sibling, best friend, best friend forever, spouse, whoever, for an additional opinion and/or opinion of comfort. However, you recognize that they are not your chosen “expert” or “model” on the matter. Your “experts” may not always give you the best advice in the end, but you should to seek them out to get some any time you need some. That’s how the model works.
Doing work related to government and corporate boards at the time (and still am), I made the analogy of what Bill and Dave were saying as being akin to having a Board of Directors for my life. I would find the subject matters I would like to have “subject matter experts” on, and identify people who I’d like to advise me on such matters. However, perhaps a little bit unlike what Bill and Dave were suggesting, these people on my “Life Board” would intentionally converse with each other, like Directors on a real Board would rather than acting alone. Incidents and subject matters in life don’t happen just on their own, nor are factors to be considered in dealing with them. My Life Board was going to act like a Board and not just a bunch of individual consultants, to extend a business analogy. While I’m certain Bill and Dave didn’t intend for the life advisors they proposed people have to all act alone, not the least because people important to you in life probably know each other to some extent, I could not recall there being advice to make a deliberate effort to get the life advisors Bill and Dave had suggested to interact.
While all that was a good idea on my part, Bill and Dave’s suggestion was a better idea because it was more practical. It’d be hard enough to find people who could be advisors, never mind those then willing to be advisors, to ask for them to get to know each other, specifically regarding you and your life! Yet, I was not willing to give up on my idea because in my life, even Bill and Dave’s suggestions weren’t practical for me. I knew many people, but I didn’t know many people well enough to ask them to be an advisor for me. Perhaps more importantly, from my lack of knowing many people well, I didn’t know enough people who knew me well enough to be a good advisor for me. They may have been knowledgeable in certain areas, but would they know what to pull from it to suit me if they didn’t know me well? You wouldn’t likely give the same specific, possibly even general, advice to everybody for a problem. If you didn’t know the person you were advising, how would you know what was the best advice to give them, rather than just some advice?
Upon thinking about how to solve my problem of not knowing many suitable advisors to be on my Life Board of Directors, I came up with the solution of having famous people I had known a lot about to be on my Life Board. These were people whose life perspectives and philosophies, personal styles of engagements, approaches to doing things, etc. I not only highly approved of, but also felt I had a good enough grasp of to mock conversations with and get the information I wanted. For how I was learning in life, and still is, these people were podcast hosts. I have heard tens, if not hundreds, of hours of their views and styles in life to feel I could reasonably recall and mimic what they’d say to me. That’s quite a stretch of the imagination, I will admit, but given the lack of qualified people to be advisors to me, it was the best I could do.
As to who these people are that I have chosen to be on my Life Board, I’ll tell you in a post not too distant in the future, and go back to link it to this one. In the meanwhile, I’d like you to think about who would be on your Life Board, if you didn’t have something similar set up in your life, and try setting one up, or at least share. That might be a bit much for a comment, though you’d be more than welcomed to shared there. However, if you were a blogger, maybe blog a post to respond! I’d love to know! Thanks!