The luxury of having time to reflect is not lost on me and I have been taking full advantage of it since leaving Tangerine.
As I have been exploring what to do for the next chapter of my working life, I have found great value in bouncing ideas off people. The notion of having a handful of trusted people to help you make the best decision is one everyone would agree with in business, at least the successful leaders do. We intentionally pursue it. “It” being an Advisory Board, or a Board of Directors, a group of smart individuals to surround ourselves with to help us make better leadership decisions about the businesses we run.
Sure, this makes sense for a business but what about a personal advisory board?
There are at least two sides to every story and five sides to every idea. But you’d never know it, if you don’t get out of your own head.
I am fortunate in that I have a handful of trusted people that I go to when I need to make a big decision. They help me think, share insight, and provide various perspectives. They are crucial to my decision-making process. Why? Because they provide diversity.
Now before you automatically think about their gender or ethnic diversity, which of course are important elements, let me tell you that their biggest value is in their diversity of thought! The various personalities, the education, experiences and perspectives that they’ve gathered have allowed me to examine all possible sides of the many ideas regarding my future. Not to mention they’ve given out “the straight goods.”
Like the saying goes, “when life gets blurry, adjust your focus.” But here’s the thing, you can’t do it alone. I think that the worst part about making decisions about your own life, versus a business decision, is that we are limited by the one perspective that we have. These decisions tend to be more emotional as well and are more prone to error and bias.
I’m able to weigh the pros and cons with each member of my personal advisory board, analyze opportunities and even see things in a way I may not have even considered! Each perspective varies from person-to-person, and it is a very comforting feeling to know that I have truly examined an opportunity from all possible angles.
Having a personal advisory board, people who think differently from one another, can create conversations that stimulate new ideas. They help you get out of your own head, and probably of most value, they provide clarity! And clarity is power.
While this process is great for our careers, I have found it to be true in other aspects of life.
How we handle disappointment, failure and difficult decisions as we navigate life would also benefit from a personal advisory board. Trusted confidents who we can share our worries, thoughts and problems with, frankly and openly, are vital to our success in life, personally and professionally.
If Brené Brown is right about “vulnerability being the birthplace of connection,” then imagine the world of good, clarity and objectivity we can bring to our lives, if we invested in building these lifelong trusted connections.