by Ellen Lubin-Sherman
First, you need to accept the idea that receiving help from people who have your best interest at heart is a win/win. Many people have this cockeyed notion that they have to go it alone, figure it out, and pretend everything is fabulous when it isn’t. We all need help. We all need someone to listen compassionately and see where and how she or he can help you close the gap.
Now that you’ve agreed to let people “in” on whatever it is that’s distracting your mind, you have to find the perfect team. Each person serving on your board has to have a specific skill that will enable you to accomplish your goal. Do you have a friend who can help you write a resume that takes your hiatus and turns it into valuable work experience or prepare a cover letter that’s irresistible? Excellent. What about someone who has a platinum Rolodex and thinks it’s cool to call people on your behalf to set up an introduction? Nice. Do you know anyone who is grounded in common sense? Put them on the board. And finally, if you know anyone with a fabulous sense of humor, run, don’t walk. Humor is what we all need especially when we’re in the thick of things trying to figure it all out.
Yes, the board is there to help you close the gap but the board has a more important job. The board is there to help you believe in yourself. The board wants to see you succeed and accomplish your goals. And because of their devotion to you, they are willing to do whatever it takes to help you get “up the mountain” till you’re at the summit. That is why you must only select board members who are confident and generous with their savvy and their know-how.
The board has to have the freedom to tell you the truth and you have to trust them to tell you the truth. It’s not easy to hear that your laugh is shrill or you are dismissive of people you’re not friendly with but you must know these things so you can be you, at your best.
Listen carefully when a board member shares an observation. It takes courage to be direct but you must look at it as a teaching moment. Mull it over but don’t reject it.
The board has to know what’s working and what’s not. Perhaps you need more help in your personal presentation? Perhaps you’re tongue-tied when you call someone to set up a meeting? Or perhaps you’ve developed more confidence and feel more optimistic. Whatever you’re doing, keep the board updated so they’re in the loop and feel appreciated.
Now that you have a board, you’re ready to take on new challenges. You’re not alone. You have a group of people waving the pompoms when you’re winning! Encourage the board to hold you accountable to the highest of standards. And when you falter and start to doubt yourself, ask the board for a push or a reminder of what you’ve done, how you did it and how you’re going to do it again!