At the Creative Problem Solving Institute I’ve attended for the past two years, one of the tools to inspire new thinking about a challenge is to imagine how someone else would solve it. A set of BrainNoodling cards I purchased promotes this idea; it contains 40 cards featuring different people whose lives and values prompt questions for you to apply to your life, like this one on Mother Teresa.
I’m taking this idea and appointing myself a Board of Directors. (Yes, I know it’s mid-July, and this activity seems better suited for the start of the year, but as someone in education, summer is when I hit the reset button, so July ’18 – July ’19 it is. Plus, this is my board, and I can appoint them when I wish.)
Apparently, this concept of a personal board of directors is not original. Forbes talked about it in February, though theirs is more reality-based than mine. They suggest you pick people you have regular contact with, people who check off different criteria such as one in your field, someone who can introduce you to others, one who will critique you, etc. I think it’s great advice, and maybe someday I will take it.
But for my first Board of Directors, I’ve picked people whose lives can inform and inspire my specific goals for the next 12 months. Though it would be phenomenal if I could, I will not physically meet with them for regular check-ins; out of the 6 people on my board, 3 are dead, and 4 of them wouldn’t even know who I am.
Instead, it’s up to me to remind myself of their purpose and, if all goes well, my board members will guide me with their spirits. In no particular order, here’s who I’ve picked and why:
P!nk, for her body positivity, down to Earth parenting/marriage views, commitment to artistry and creativity, and for her athleticism.
My dad, for always wanting what’s best for me, for our shared values, for his fatherly wisdom, and for his undying (ha!) support.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for her inclusive concept of feminism, her dedication to her craft, and for her reminders to reject (and not write) the “single story.”
Brené Brown, for her urging to choose courage over comfort, her guidance on bravery and necessary conversations, her love of research, and for her belief in creativity and vulnerability.
Mamie Till, for her strength and ability to channel her grief for good, her faith and devotion to her son, and for championing Civil Rights and challenging the status quo with grace and tenacity.
Donald Murray, for his generosity, his reminders to write a line a day, and for his dedication to his family.
My list of runners-up for future consideration is long, but these are the people who can best challenge me and cheer me on to reach my current goals.
I think this is a worthy exercise, but even if you don’t do it to the extent I am, I’m curious: If you were to appoint your own Board of Directors, who would be on it and why?