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Cindy Talks: Who would be on your “personal” Board of Directors?

What if you could hand select a personal board of directors*? Comprised of people who have only your best interest at heart? People you know or don’t know? Real or fictional? Alive or even dead?

The goal of your board would be to provide new perspectives on your “stuff.” They would replace the old voices that tell you what you cannot do or why you cannot change. They would NOT be another set of external experts for whom you feel obligated to perform. They would simply provide new voices to your internal dialogue; giving voice to what you probably already know about yourself but havent acknowledged yet; encouraging you to act in your own best interest; empowering you to say “no” when you really want to.

Doing this is actually a lot of fun. This time ’round I selected Hillary because she reminds me to be tough and resilient. I chose Miriam, the Afghani protagonist in “A Thousand Splendid Suns” because she would tell me to stop complaining about my life and capitalize on the amazing choices I have as an American woman. I would include Eric Clapton to stoke my creativity. My two sons would inspire courage and advise me “to go for it,” having each risked big time disappointment this fall in pursuit of personal dreams.

Whom you choose to be on your board, will give you important clues about what you need right now to mitigate the old voices of resistance and affect change in your life. You choose your board to give voice to something you really want to do for yourself. They can spur you to action in some aspect of your life where youve been feeling stuck.

Who would be on your board? Lets inspire each other and have some fun with this! (I have a dear friend who would have Johnny Depp on her board simply for the enhanced board room esthetics!)Who would be on your board? Fill in the comment box below.

* Karen Van Allen and Ruth Neubauer are psychotherapists who run groups called “Retirement or What Next.” This is an exercise they do with their groups. I read about this in Suzanne Braun Levine’s “Inventing the Rest of our Lives“.

Snoety symbol
Kirby says: November 18th, 2007 at 12:27 pm

Good stuff, Cindy. I would love to have Johnny Depp on my personal board, my two deceased grandmothers, and Benicido Del Toro because he is raw sexy and I love the Spanish language — it reminds me of a whole other side of my personality I don’t get to express on a daily basis, living as I do in the suburbs of Long Island.

Janet Matts says: November 18th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Cindy, I have done this exercise often….I would include:
Mother Theresa – to teach me how to “be in service to others” in true love for what is most important.
James Taylor – to sustain the “real world” of things that are ordinary that touch our hearts.
My wonderful mom – a role model and special person that forgives and gives without fanfare….and is better than ever at 75!
My mentor, Gail – who taught me a lot about “being out of the box” and recognizing why we are put on this earth.
David Bowie – Love his “out of the box ideas” and his looks!!! 🙂
My nephew, a freshman at MIT, and my niece at Cooper Union in NYC to continue to challenge my acceptance and appreciation of the Millenium generation.
Catherine Hepburn – pure class!!!
Is that too many???

Love doing this exercise…again,and again and again….thanks for the thoughts,

Janet Matts

Cindy says: November 19th, 2007 at 9:54 am

These are fantastic board rosters. Thanks for sharing.

Kirby, I love your sentiment that a member of the board can help us get back in touch with a part of our personality that doesn’t get regular expression at this point in life and that, perhaps, we ‘ve been missing.

Janet – Not too many board members at all …A wonderful, ecclectic board. Imagine Mother Theresa and David Bowie sitting together at your board table. Great!

By the way, my friend who suggested Johnny Depp added that she chose him “not only for his enduring allure, but because he would help me embrace quirks. I think we all should celebrate and enjoy the quirks within us and around us.” I like this sentiment, too. Up with quirks!

Other board ideas? Please share. This is fun….

Ann Mehl says: March 5th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I am a little late to the game on this article but love the concept. My board would consist of:
-Yvon Chouinard: World-class mountaineer, diehard surfer, obsessive fly fisher and founder and owner of Patagonia, …He is a man of integrity who doesn’t play by all of the traditional rules of corporate convention.
-Sheryl Crow: Her personal resilience and love for her craft are inspiring. She isn’t afraid to take risks and she has been quoted as saying that she is attracted to people who know their own brilliance. I dig that.
-Anne Lamott: I admire her authenticity & style of writing. She’d keep it “real”.
-Paul Newman: I’d enjoy hearing his advice and words of wisdom.
-Kip Tiernan: Best known for founding Rosie’s Place, a homeless women’s shelter, she has been at the center of the fight for economic and social justice for nearly three decades. She represents the gift of service and would keep me in proper perspective.
-Anna Quindlen: She has the gift of expression and is clear and eloquent. I think she’d add warmth to the group 😉
-Robin Williams: I adore his sense of humor. He would keep me smiling.
-Gabrielle Reese: Hopefully she’d help with the motivation to stay in shape. She represents power and ambition.

Gosh, I could go on… but that captures some of the board members…

Cindy says: March 6th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Dear Ann,

So glad you enjoyed my posts. I LOVE your board. Thank you for taking the time to post it.

The gifts of integrity, resilience and love of craft, authenticity and style, wisdom, service, expression, humor. Wow. I’d say you are taking very good care of yourself and are a wise person indeed to surround yourself with these important traits and values.

Very cool,


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