What is a Personal Board? It is one key tool to your personal & professional growth. A tool to help you rise and thrive. THAT is what it is. I have a lot of faith in selective peer to peer mentoring.
A Personal Board is the modern day version of the Mastermind Group, a phrase coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book “The Law of Success,” specifically in reference to businessmen who tapped into the power of their peers. Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford had Mastermind groups - they did NOT go it alone. However, you don’t need to be focused on disrupting an industry nor becoming a billionaire to benefit from a Mastermind Group. You just need to be aiming to thrive in life. In fact, you may feel you are already part of a Mastermind group with your own circle of trusted friends, or a work colleague or a bestie. However, it’s likely this is VERY different from a Mastermind Group. I call a Mastermind Group a Personal Board, and I am sure you would benefit from one that you create, that you develop and that you curate to work for you. Researchers from coast to coast, literally from Boston University to Stanford University, agree in the value of alternative forms of mentoring and how people thrive through connection to others, people with a different set of experiences and with diverse backgrounds. Research results have led researchers to recommend “that individuals obtain developmental assistance from a diverse set of sources.” (1)
In early 2019 five female friends and I committed to our peer to peer mentoring group and we are still going strong. We named our group “Keep Ascending.” The group meets once a month to discuss work issues, business ideas, reflect on life choices and share in moments of laughter. We also reach out as needed by text or a phone call between meetings. The group consistently serves as a professional home base and forum to inspire each other, seek professional advice, peer mentor on timely issues, and leverage the support network we all did not know we needed. We continue to thrive through our personal connection, years of experience, success and failures. We truly thrive on the power of this Mastermind group.
Keep Ascending recently allowed ourselves to be recorded as we spent an hour session reflecting on our group after over a year and a half of meeting. You can listen in to the discussion as this conversation was recorded by the INSEAD business school alumni women in business club podcast, “IWiB Stories.” The podcast’s goal to help women find information, advice and tools to succeed aligns with the purpose of Keep Ascending, and the purpose of Monumental Me (might I add). The group also realized that the pandemic only enhanced the power of our personal board and the positive impact it has had on our lives.
After a year of Covid-19 hitting us hard, the time for a personal board has never been so evident. As we can’t fully reconnect in person, many displaced from an office and other group activity environments, curating your own Personal Board can really make a difference between just treading water and thriving.
You can listen to the IWiB Podcast episode “Keep Ascending” HERE. This is a different kind of podcast episode - it exposes the infinite value of a Personal Board and why it is so important to work to build your own.
How do you start your own personal board? There are 3 first steps required:
Identify your personal & professional short-term goals and what you want to achieve through a personal board of advisors
Identify the skills and character traits of the people who might help you, offer a diverse set of viewpoints and experience, yet feel are able to relate to your needs and personality
Identify 2 people who you would welcome to be on your own personal board and invite them to form one including their own +1s
And if you need help getting started, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org because it feels good to get help from those who have been there and done that.
(1) Higgins & Kram (2001) point out the benefit of “alternatives to traditional mentoring relationships.” … those individuals with multiple sources of work related developmental support have found to experience greater organizational commitment, job and work satisfaction, career expectations, actual and perceived career success… these results have led researchers to recommend that individuals obtain developmental assistance from a diverse set of sources (de Janasz & Sullivan, 2004; Russell 2004).