My friends Ann Voskamp, Emily Freeman and I enjoyed dinner last month, catching up on each others’ latest projects and hearing each others’ hearts. Ann and I both had Relevant keynotes on the horizon, had the three of us recently finished whirlwind writing projects and have had an abnormally busy season of travel.
There aren’t too many people in my life right now who really get the ins and outs behind the weirdness of what I do, so I really valued these few hours together. These gals not only empathized with blog-life oddities, but they also understood the unintentional toil this can put on the people we love most—our families.
It’s ironic, sometimes. I can think of nothing else I’d rather do in my life right now—really. I’m in my element. And I’m constantly grateful that it can help put food on my family’s table… I’m in awe of that, really.
But sometimes, this job asks too much. The return on investment for certain projects just isn’t worth it. This blog, where I share what I’m learning as I raise my family and tend my home, can put me on a plane and send me away from that place I love, far more than I ever intended.
After commiserating a bit, Ann then shared something powerful. It was my big takeaway for the evening.
Find your board
Companies have Board of Directors, and together, these people make decisions for the good of the company. As a hive mind, they vote on the major decisions that have significant consequences on the company’s direction.
- They might decide to appoint someone the company’s new CEO.
- They might sign off on a major purchase.
- Sometimes they’ll write new rules, or make addenda to old ones.
- And many times, they’ll act as the collective representative of the company, making official decisions with the company’s best interest in mind.
It’s this last role I want to park on, and the one we spent the evening discussing. We had heard of some other bloggers-turned-authors-turned-speakers who created for themselves a board—a collection of people that would help them make decisions.
None of us had created a board for ourselves, but our minds were tantalized by the idea. Other people, making decisions for us? Sounds good to me.
This board could look at my calendar when I’m asked to speak, and they could be the ones to say yea or nay. When I’m presented with an opportunity to write, this board could collectively decide whether it’s a good opportunity, or if I should pass.
Photo by Juliana Couthino
These people would have their best interest in the “company”—in this case, me. They would care about my health, my family’s health, and the overall message of my mission. Why? Because they’re my friends.
More than just passing the buck to let other people say no on my behalf (though, admittedly, there is a certain appeal to that), this board can step back better than I could, remove emotion or guilt, and make decisions based on rationale and good judgment with the good of the company in mind. They wouldn’t act on people pleasing. Not that I do that at all.
It’s all about accountability
This is all it is, in a nutshell—accountability. And I’d wager a guess than many of us could use this in our own lives, not just those of us running a business. Having other people in our lives help us look out for ourselves? Give us wisdom to see the difference between the better and the best? Sounds good to me.
This conversation compelled me to find a board, not just for my business, but for my personal life as well. People who could help me make sound choices about my health and my spiritual life—accountability partners, really.
It also reminded me that I need to serve as a board for other people. It’s not just about me—in serving, I am blessed as well. I can enrich the life of someone else in this simple but profound way.
I love having accountability. I need accountability.
- I need someone to remind me that it’s good to exercise regularly.
- Sometimes I need a friend to tell me to stop working and go to sleep already.
- I like having a girlfriend ask me what I’m reading, so that I can report to her what I’m learning.
Admittedly, I haven’t gathered my professional board of directors yet, but it’s still on my to-do list. I’ll share what I learn as I create one. But I do have someone that’s going to ask me if I’m working out—it’s a start. We need each other, friends. Perhaps we can find our boards in each other.
Do you have a “board” in your life? How can you find one?