Who’s your Board of Directors?

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the totally fresh perspective on intentional community: I love it. I think one of the most valuable gifts I have is a “board” of friends who’ve known me in different seasons, especially formative ones, now scattered across the country (and world) that will ask the hard questions, listen and process (and vice versa). For me, a balance of people in my present daily life (who are here & now, but don’t share history) as well as people who know me from way back (who share strong ties & investment, but are harder to catch up with) create that beautiful mosaic. So worth pursuing, old & new.
    Annie´s latest post: On Caterpillars and Repentance

  2. I don’t really have a board of directors regularly.

    But briefly in July and August I was trying to lose some weight, and so was my sister in law. So every night we texted each other how many calories we’d eaten that day. It’s amazing how something so simple made my weight loss so effective — because when I’d be debating some sort of high calorie snack, I would stop and think, “But that’ll make my total high, and then V will know I broke my daily limit!” I think I need to put something similar into practice in a lot more areas of my life.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s latest post: Can’t. Put. The. Book. Down.

  3. I think my husband is the only one on my board right now. Which is a delightful thing about being married, I never have to make decisions by myself.
    It would be nice to expand it though. I’m working on some community building.
    Erin OK´s latest post: Mindful Parenting Collaboration

  4. My husband and one close friend are the current members of my “board.” Both encouraged me to say yes to teaching a seminar during the month of October. The extra responsibility is making October a CRAZY month for me, and I sometimes ask myself, “Was this a mistake???”

    But I have the assurance that both of my board members urged me to go for it.

    This post makes me think that perhaps I’d like to expand my “board.” Maybe as a first step I’ll make a brainstorm list of people who could offer accountability in different areas…
    Betsy´s latest post: Favorite Turkish Soup

  5. Love. I am in need of someone who can “step back better than I could” and who doesn’t miss the forest for the trees (like I do sometimes!) Also, to tell me to go to bed on time :)

    Right now, my husband often provides this feedback for me, but a true board could use a few more members! Still, it’s something….
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s latest post: Want to Be a Better Person? Watch a Good Movie.

  6. How about keeping it simple? Seems to me your husband and kids are the most available, most “interested,” and most supportive board around. Girlfriends are great for weight loss accountability and small stuff, but for me, the immediate family are the only ones who should have a significant say in the bigger decisions. It’s important to keep the live-in family board members at the top, where they belong. I’m sure you agree, just thought it might be worth mentioning that some members should always have a greater say than others!

  7. I never thought about it this way! Love this perspective. I certainly have a “board”. My husband, first and foremost. Also a group of women I have known since my freshman year of college. We have seen each other weekly at our playgroup since our kids were born and there is not much in my life that they don’t know about and “sign off” on (or not sign off on).
    Katherine´s latest post: The clothing update

  8. Just be careful; a board has a vested interest in a company’s interest as they are major stockholders or compensated for their work. Grabbing some close friends who don’t reap the rewards or pay the consequences for your decisions could be short sighted. I noticed everyone saying their husbands are their boards and I’m nodding my head; who better understands the need of balancing business and family?
    Mary´s latest post: Do what gives you peace

  9. In starting my business, I spoke to another woman entrepreneur who put together what she called her “Kitchen Cabinet”. Basically it was a group of people – her husband and friends or acquaintances with different skill sets – that met monthly in her kitchen for a free breakfast, to discuss her busines and give her ideas or confirmation of what she was doing. My board is my husband and local SCORE reps who do the same. Whatever you do, keep it simple. Good luck!

  10. Great Post! I love reading your bog. I need a board of directors to just do laundry for my family of five!
    Seriously Sassy Mama´s latest post: My Computer Is Slow, And This Post Blows!

  11. Tsh, just so you know, I consider YOU to be one of my “virtual” board members. I really admire your life perspective, and although we haven’t met, I have a feeling you really understand my busy life balancing a family and a website.

    My husband and I were just talking about this last night–how we need to have good mentors around us. There is so much to learn, and I know there are many people out there who have their lives put together more than I do. I love the online world because it gives me a chance to learn from some extremely bright people.

    Thanks for your encouragement and example. I wish you teh best!

    April
    April Perry´s latest post: Let the Good Times Roll

  12. Sorry about that last typo :)
    April Perry´s latest post: Let the Good Times Roll

  13. Every job needs a board or committee they can go to for support and decision making. Even volunteer positions. I work with middle schoolers at my church on a volunteer basis and I am grateful to our Education Committee–I can say, “Hey! I need help with this project!” or “Please pray this situation.” Even though sometimes it seems easier to work alone because you don’t have to deal with the people drama, we weren’t made to work alone.
    Amy´s latest post: Sundays can be relaxing days for moms too!

  14. This is the first time “accountability partners” has been presented in a way that intrigues me rather than sends me running. :)
    Michelle´s latest post: Coming Soon: Kirk, Christina & Marissa

  15. Really like your reminder about accountability. I need some of that right now!
    Archer´s latest post: Pear Walnut Spice Muffins

  16. I give thanks for you, friend….
    Learning and leaning to Truth and Grace with you, Tsh…

    Ann
    Ann Voskamp@A Holy Experience´s latest post: when it’s hard

  17. I know what you mean about few people (family or friends) truly understanding this blog-life of ours. :)

    I do actually have a board – more a sounding board than a board of directors – just a few close (though they are scattered across the globe) friends who ask and answer the question… Am I crazy to ________ (insert life or business question) ?

    In addition to having a board (or in lieu of a board if you can’t find one), I’ve gotten very good at saying no – or having my managing editor say no. LOL. But seriously – saying no to life or business “invitations” helps me free up “white space” for the people, things and opportunities that make me happy.

    Thank you for opening up this discussion, Tsh!
    Heather
    Heather Allard´s latest post: 3 Common Financial Pitfalls of Entrepreneurs

  18. I don’t have a board, but I think I need one. Heaven only knows that I push myself so very hard in my life! I love the idea of accountablity partners! This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha from the New Testament. Both the tasks that they gave themselves were important, but Mary chose the better part. Whenever I am overwhelmed, I try asking myself if this is a Mary, or a Martha decision. Usually, I can make a better choice. Love this one today!!
    pattyann´s latest post: Sabbath Day Scribblings – The Lord’s Hands

  19. I love this idea, and how you presented it! I am by nature a “career mom” turned “@ home mom”, but still prefer to run my “mom job” as a business (ie. as efficiently as possible, with best ROI…ie. cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc.).

    I also own/manage my rental properties in Portland, OR as well as have my own blog. My husband is my best supporter in my endeavors, as he sees the value in what I do. (I guess he is part of my “board of directors” for this)

    My husband and I are extremely blessed to have an older couple from our church that mentors us in our marriage (they’ve been married 51 years!). We meet with them twice a month in addition to our mid-weekly bible study. This has been very valueable to us – as when our marriage is strong (in Christ), it really sets the foundation for everything else!

    I currently have gestational diabetes, so I meet with a nutritionist and have to turn in my food log & blood sugar levels each week (definitely holds me accountable on what I eat, and I can’t “cheat”.)

    I find lots of encouragement/ideas from many bloggers too. Even if their businesses are different than mine, I can appreciate other moms who run a business from home while still managing their kids/family responsibilities.
    Proverbs 31 (The Wife of Noble Character) is definitely an inspiration/role model for me!
    I blogged about this here: http://heartandhaven.com/2011/05/07/heart-and-haven-%e2%80%93-the-beginning%e2%80%a6/

    Regarding exercise, ugh! Too bad I don’t live closer to you so we could go on walks together! ;-) Something I gotta get better at!
    Heart and Haven´s latest post: Road Map For A Happy Marriage – Part 2

  20. A board is probably an excellent idea for someone like yourself who is self-employed, and works alone (physically) but in the public realm. (Although you may recieve some wonderful support and direction at the blog conferences you attend) But for those of us whose employment involves working with others, the accountability and support is already built-in with co-workers. Those of us who are sahm will have natural built-in board with our families and close friends. As a mom of four who works full-time, the idea of a mentor or spiritual director is something I long for. I do find it difficult making enough time for family, friends, and church community. For me, a board would be just another part of my life I’m not making enough time for.

  21. For right now, my “board” is my husband. :) In all seriousness, I’ve turned over speaking engagement inquiries to him, because he can negotiate better for me (less awkward when we talk money) and he knows our needs, calendar, and his own ability to take care of our two kids. Down the road I might need a bigger “board” but for right now, it’s a wonderful “safe” feeling to know that all I do goes through him. Plus he’s my biggest fan, so that helps. Great idea here, thanks!
    Kari Patterson´s latest post: For all the aching parts of growing up

  22. What a great idea Tsh! I definitely could use a board of directors to help me govern my life! Will be praying and keeping my mind open in this matter.
    Thank you!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: Life is full of doors, hallways and windows

  23. I would have to say that my “board” is my husband. He is the one who helps we weigh the pros and cons of decisions and helps me consider how a certain decision or commitment would effect our family (both immediate and long term). I trust him 100% and he has OUR best interest in mind. Love my man! Great post, Tsh.
    Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)´s latest post: Clothes in the closet

  24. I believe that every job requires a board or committee they can visit for support and making decisions. Even volunteer positions. Sometimes with middle schoolers inside my church on a volunteer basis and I am grateful to the Education Committee-I know, “Hey! I need assist with this project!” or “Please pray this situation.” Despite the fact that sometimes it seems simpler to work alone since you don’t suffer from the people drama, we weren’t made to work alone.
    Janice´s latest post: What Men Really Want from Women

  25. That’s really interesting, Tsh. How did you go about finding your board members? Are they people you see in real life or people you only meet with online? In the process of asking them to play this role for you, did you agree to do the same with them, i.e. is the relationship reciprocal?

    Oh, and P.S. …. I’m so glad to hear the Oregon branch of the book club is alive and well! :-)
    Hannah D.´s latest post: MIssion Accomplished

  26. I would LOVE to follow your advice and have a ‘board’ bigger than my husband- but there is really no one who can understand the ‘weirdness’ of being the wife of a Catholic priest….so for now, I’ll just pray for a bosom friend who could help me expand my board- and I hers.
    priest’s wife´s latest post: 3rd Antiphon- Divine Liturgy series

  27. Hmm… I do like bouncing ideas off of people and getting feedback and advice, but I wouldn’t want people making decisions for me. Prioritization of your time and discerning what is and isn’t a good opportunity seems too personal to give to others. But having people to hold you accountable and brainstorm with? That is great.
    Audrey @ Mom Drop Box´s latest post: My Biggest Parenting Accomplishment To Date

  28. avatar
    Shelley R. says:

    If the idea is gathering a board to aid in wisdom–even on writing or speaking commitments–couldn’t these individuals be called a Board of Discerners? Just a thought, maybe ‘discerners’ isn’t even a word. Intriguing ideas, I would just want to ensure that those that are on the board are deeply trusted and are gifted with keen minds and hearts!

  29. I really like this post. I long for that kind of relationship. Someone who understand my values and can hold me accountable without being judgmental; to tell me when I’ve gone off-track.

    My husband and I are friends for a long time before we started dating and for the most part, he is on my board. But there are certain areas in our lives that we need a council of women. And there are times when my husband and I may have “conflict of interest” that we may need other board members to step in. Unfortunately, with us moving so often, such members are difficult to find…

  30. My husband is the biggest ‘board member’ in my life as it revolves around business as well for sure. I have a handful of friends that I know would give sound feed-back as well. An interesting perspective to approach topics with a ‘board member’ perspective for sure – Thanks for sharing your insights. :)

  31. I don’t know what I would do without my husband and my friends. I am glad my husband and I get along so well, …. he often tells me what I need to hear “say no, you don’t have to do that, you don’t have time to do that”
    Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living.com´s latest post: Simple Compassion – Pack Up And Ship Out

  32. avatar
    1hot&tiredmama says:

    I have two GREAT girlfriends. We meet for breakfast every Friday morning and rehash our weeks/lives/dilemmas. These gals totally have by back, and I have theirs. We are in similar family/work/volunteer situations and can really help each other stay on track and not “overdo” it. It is definitely great to have a “board,” although I never really considered them that until now. :o)

  33. Great idea! The challenge, of course, would be finding the right people. Thanks for sharing this, it definitely leaves me with something to think about. ;)
    Laura´s latest post: Wordless Wednesday: La Virgen de Guadalupe

  34. my husband. but maybe i need a business mentor as well to share.

  35. Sometimes with too much freedom, I fail to do what needs to be done. I have big confidence in myself and my skills but it is great for someone to remind me that I should do better and even comment on my mistakes. I like the idea of selecting a board. I hope you complete your list and achieve success in your ventures.
    Kimberly´s latest post: how to get a girl to like you

  36. avatar
    StephanieB says:

    My board of directors include my husband, mom, sister, and close friends.

    It helps to have people objectively look at your life and help you make hard decisions that are difficult to make yourself.
    StephanieB´s latest post: Meatloaf and What It Taught Me

  37. Such great food for thought, Tsh. Because this job asks too much in so many ways that we would consider ludicrous in other jobs. You’ve really got me thinking.

  38. Such an interesting idea, after all we all now a sounding board, especially when we become too “close” or too “emotionally involved” in particular topic or decision.
    Angie (TheActorsWife)´s latest post: a picture is worth a thousand words

  39. This spring I hired a career/life coach, as I felt greatly nudged (thank you, God!), as I had never been able to really find my niche. What I learned has been life-changing, and the positive effects also rippled into my husband and two adult daughters.

    As part of our fresh perspectives on our lives, my two twenty-something daughters and I formed such a group. We meet via Skype about once every week or two, and celebrate successes, talk about where we’re stuck and where we want to go. We bounce the pros and cons around and come to a decision. We encourage, share resources, and also act as accountability partners for each other. It has been a tremendous gift for each of us.

    There is a great video on Youtube of Napoleon Hill describing such a group, and he calls it a mastermind group. It is well worth the 10 minutes of time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3haAWU0oiuw

    You can create such a group amongst like minded friends, family, business associates, or even ask folks who’s philosophy aligns with yours to be a part. Generally speaking, folks are happy to help those who in the learning/building process.
    Kim´s latest post: Standing against the hurricane-making choices that work

  40. That’s my husband.
    renee @ FIMBY´s latest post: Soap Making Supplies & Where to Find Them

  41. I never have to make decisions by myself. It would be nice to expand it though. I work with my board of directors.
    Abby´s latest post: Quickest Way To Get Pregnant

  42. Thanks so much for this post! I actually read it the other day and began writing about it on my blog (Pray, Then Learn) but couldn’t figure out how to link back to your site since I’d found it while clicking through several of the 31 Day-ers! But the next day I was going back through them and found you, so I followed up with a post directing folks to your brilliant mind! I love the idea of a “board” who helps you make life decisions and helps you weigh options. One of our biggest hindrances in this life is feeling like we can’t say “no” to things. Many times, a ton of good things crowd the space of the best thing…and I know that I’ve missed the best more than once because I’d busied myself with “good things.” Having my own Board of Directors helps me keep that in check. Thanks for the incredible thoughts…I love your site. I’ll stop back by in the future!
    Krysten´s latest post: Moments, Day 21: Board of Directors.

  43. I own my own business, homeschool, and am a pastor’s wife. This year, my “board” expanded to a consultant (who tells me exactly how to run my business and budget), two receptionists (which handle my mail, phone calls, and daily life at my Music Studio), a house cleaner (twice a month, just to do the “deep” cleaning and help me keep my sanity), a homeschool community to give me accountability and deadlines (Classical Conversations), as well as two beautiful friends in whom I can bounce ideas off of, keep me in line, and encourage me. My biggest help is my husband, my Life Partner. I have to force myself to REALLY listen to him, for he has the best perspective and best intentions for me.
    I know I am very, very blessed to have a consultant, receptionists, and a house cleaner. It has taken 13 years of running my own business to reach this stage. My point is to NOT be afraid to ASK FOR HELP. For years I said, “I can’t do this on my own!” And it’s true. I can’t. So this year, I got help. I stepped out on a limb, took a risk to spend money so I could make more money, so I can truly be present for my kids and not cleaning or working all the time.
    Thank you for this post! It really helps me see how the whole picture fits together as a “Board of Directors.”

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Who’s On Your Board of Directors?: I loved this article about forming a personal Board of Directors for all things you. And yes, since I’m taking the weekly round-up link idea from @simplemom my first link to point out will be a link to an article on her site. [...]

  2. [...] link to the post I was talking about so you can read this writer’s brilliance for yourself. Here’s the original post, over at Simple Mom. I feel much better being able to give credit where credit is due! It was [...]

  3. [...] as I was saying yes, I was thinking about Simple Mom and how if I had my own personal Board of Directors like she advocates they would never let me agree to make two Thanksgiving dresses (because the 6-year-old has a [...]

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