I sometimes advocate creating a personal board of directors. It's basically a set of people you rely on for advice throughout your life and career. Click here to read my recent guest-post on the subject for the Shifting Careers blog of the New York Times.
A lot of people think this is a good idea, but figure they don't really know that many useful people. Au contraire! You actually know a lot more people than you think, and some of the best members of your potential board might be people whom you regularly contact for other purposes.
To brainstorm who might be good members of your board, answer the following prompts (adapted from my smash-hit bestselling book, The Creative Lawyer), as quickly as you can.
Write the name of someone you know who:
1. Is incredibly organized
2. Knows how to have fun
3. Knows everyone
4. Can give you encouragement in tough times
5. Can talk to you straight about your weaknesses
6. Is unfailingly logical
7. Is deeply empathetic
8. Is spiritually advanced
9. Can handle a crisis
10. Has known you since childhood
11. Is politically connected
12. Is entrepreneurial
13. Is good at raising kids
14. Is an expert on money
15. Is an expert on relationships
16. Is an expert on health
17. Is an expert at work/life balance
18. Is an expert in the type of work you do
19. In an expert in a type of work you are interested in
20. Gives good advice about office politics
21. Gives good advice about professional development
22. Gives good advice about how to get ahead
23. Thinks you are great at what you do
24. Thinks you have great talents other than your present career
25. Thinks you are a great person
Other potential nominees, and their area of contribution to your life:
Review the names you’ve written. Circle between six and ten names to be on your personal board of directors.
Adapted from The Creative Lawyer. Copyright 2007 Michael F. Melcher. All rights reserved.