Monday, March 14, 2011

Who's of Your Board of Directors?

My son Jordan works at a facility for troubled youth. When they take in new students, they have orientation sessions to help them identify the thinking and communication patterns that led to the choices that landed them there in the first place. One of the concepts they introduce is that we all have an “itty bitty mind committee” made up of people who influence us the most. It got me thinking about my choices and the greatest influences on me. At some periods of my life, I've had some pretty negative people and attitudes dictating my behavior.

A few months ago I was in a meeting where a presenter challenged us to think of our life as a corporation. She asked us to name the twelve people who have influenced us the most and who might be called our board of directors. Like a board of directors guides the course a company may take, friends, families, philosophies, principles and values influence each one of us. Christians would list Jesus Christ, of course, on their board of directors. I also listed family members and particularly influential teachers. I am who I have become because of them. Whether we're shy or outgoing, an optimist or a pessimist, we all make judgments about the world according to our own experience, and those on our board of directors are most often the people we trust to help us interpret and make sense of the world.

We could all probably find specific areas of our personal lives where we have a board of directors, too - work, volunteerism, family, parenting. As a writer, I include my alpha readers and my editor as people who influence me the most. My board of directors changed with changing circumstances of my life - when I left home, when I married, when I had children, when we moved to a new neighborhood. That's the ebb and flow of life. But we don't pass through this life in isolation. Consciously or unconsciously, we are always influenced by our belief system as well as who and what is around us.

Who’s on your board of directors? Is it a large group or a small one? What standards do you require of them? Who needs to have more or less influence on you? How can you dismiss someone from that position of influence? When we stop to think about it, we're all on somebody else's board of directors, too, and the inevitable question is: are we doing a good job?


Megan said...

oooh. such good things to think about. I'll be pondering this post for awhile!

jww said...

Great thought. I would definitely list Christ on my board, as well as husband, parents, children, siblings. I would say also a few choice friends.

I think the only ones I have to be careful with (i.e. the ones I have to dismiss now and again) are friends and strangers. It's important for me personally to not let what other people think of me influence me too much.

I have to say, also, that I think the best person to sit on my own board is myself. I think I'm finally mature enough for that. Periodically I either lose focus or confidence, and so I find times when I really need to rely on those other members, but ultimately I expect great things from ME, and so I have a prominent place on my own board.

Rachel said...

Very thought provoking! I think I have a large board of directors, but I am stubborn, so i don't think I listen to these guys very much. These dierctors change alot because we have moved 13 times! I would love to get together with your family when Jen visits!! WE have a Bradley reunion in Cali. at the end of June. Just keep me posted on a date! I bet Elin is loving the area and being closer to you now.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a difference between who's on the committee and who I would want on the committee. We (I) pay attention to so many different voices that sometimes it seems like we are executing the commands of others. In reality we (I) execute the commands of our committee.

In the end, we're all a little like prisoners in Plato's cave. It is only after we view and don't accept what we're given as reality that we begin to understand it. The goal is to experience a paradigm shift and begin to see the broader realities that lie beyond "the cave." We (I) should not blindly pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Amy said...

A great post! If I was as good with words as Jordan, I'd say what he said.

(Oh, but, I'm not listening to negative committee members here, I just know where my talents lie and they ain't with words!) :)