It’s almost impossible to become a high performer in any profession without a fantastic support team in front of you, beside you and behind you. Just like an organization has a board of directors to guide it, you too can create your own personal board of directors to guide and encourage you.

You need people in front of you. Mentors are those in your industry that have achieved what you want to eventually achieve. You look to them for wise advice, as you ask specific questions about their path to greatness. You can even be “mentored” by authors, influencers, and professionals who you never meet, through reading their books and blogs or listening to their podcasts. Those in front of you light your path and hold out a map for your journey.

You need people beside you. Coaches are people-helpers who encourage you to make progress on your self-appointed goals. They help you get clarity on your vision, and nail down the action steps to get closer to it. They process your decisions and assure that you align your life with your values. You also need peers/colleagues who are also on the journey but on a parallel path toward their own goals. It’s great to have idea-people and those who are continuously improving themselves on your support team because of the contagious positive effect on your morale. This category must also include your network: those with whom you both add value to and receive value from, in the form of opportunities and resources and connections.

You need people behind you. Having your family in your corner is like no other feeling because through thick and thin, they stand with you. It’s a good reminder to not give your family your energy leftovers because of what they mean to you. Friends fall into this category of what I call “relational rebar”, too, as they are FOR you even though they know your quirks and limitations. Friends fill in emotional gaps that family cannot. I could add a third group here and that would be of your mentees, your successors, those into whom you are pouring your wisdom and experience so that they can thrive when you have moved on. It raises your game when you are role-modeling healthy character and best practices to someone else.

Do you have names/faces in each of these three categories of a personal board of directors? If not, where is the seat at your table that needs filling? Ask around for who others recommend that you need to get to know better, as well as nurturing the relationships that have stood with you for years. They’ll take you to the top, and along the way, express your gratitude continuously for how they propped you up when you were down and how they prodded you to take that next hill.

If you might need me to be one of those catalysts on your team, I’d be honored. Let’s talk. Reach out at growingforward@paulcasey.org or 509-392-1895.

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