Making a Career Change? Consider a Personal Board of Advisors
If you’re considering a career change, form a Personal Board of Advisors.
A personal board of advisers can improve your life by giving you access to unlimited opportunities and maximizing your potential while keeping you grounded to your personal values.
In 2002, I started working for the Colombian government as a national director for anti-corruption initiatives. It was my first job out of college and I remember being excited for the beginning of my career in politics. How did I land that opportunity? By creating my Personal Board of Advisers.
A Personal Board of Advisers?
While a Corporate Board of Advisers is a body that provides strategic advice to the management of an organization, a Personal Board of Advisers is a select group of friends that are interested in your well-being.
If the main purpose of a corporate board is to maximize profits for its owners, the main purpose of a personal board is to help you to maximize your own life.
I created my first Personal Board of Advisers in 2000 in Colombia. I was 19 years old, and everybody at my college used to tell me that my future was doomed by the country’s unstable situation. Instead of feeling self pity, I built my own board to discover new opportunities.
My personal board of advisers gave me insights into my own strengths and weaknesses, often prodding me to make difficult or challenging job moves.
For instance, when I turned 24, I told my board that I was disappointed with politics and I wanted to do make a career change. That day, they advised me not only to quit my job, but also to move to the U.S. to pursue my dreams.
Three months later, I moved to Boston and learned English while waiting tables and parking cars. I was admitted to the Master’s program at Columbia University and knew that it was time for my second Personal Board of Advisors. This time, it was comprised of four of my classmates whom I grew to admire. With their help, I received my Master’s Degree a few years later.
While my board sometimes delivered advice I didn’t want to hear, they always helped me make better decisions.
After grad school my board provided me guidance to reinvent myself into a career change to the world of finance. As a result, I ended up landing several positions on Wall Street, worked as a consultant in Boston, and became an expert in business development and consulting.
I was content with my work but felt like I needed to be doing more to make a difference in the world. I knew it was time for my third Personal Board of Advisers. We spent time attending conferences, building creative projects, and exploring Massachusetts. Fun experiences, creative endeavors, and common passion projects helped me to build a close relationship with the Board Members.
One of my Board Members invited me to join him to attend TEDxBoston. After the event he asked me two questions that changed my life and became part of my internal GPS:
- What’s your gift?
- What are you doing with your gift to make the world a better place?
Those questions influenced me to quit my job and to start a new quest. Through a series of experiments, I discovered that one of my gifts was to empower people with positivism and decided to use it to build a movement to make the world a happier place and getting the International Day of Happiness passed by the United Nations (watch video)!
My fourth Personal Board of Advisers was created in 2011. They helped me to secure three years of funding for my venture and to became a full-time social entrepreneur.
Having a personal board of advisers helped me to gain self-confidence to do what I considered impossible in the past.
About a year and a half ago, I moved to San Francisco to pursue a new dream. This time, I wanted to become a successful growth marketer that uses the power of technology to make people happier.
I’m studying Growth Marketing with Will Bunker at GrowthX Academy and , in this chapter of my life, besides having the good advice and support from my wife, I have started to form my fifth Personal Board of Advisors. My Personal Boards of Advisers have made a tremendous impact on my professional and personal life. Consider forming a Personal Board of Advisors to avoid the five barriers to success and give yourself an unfair advantage!
Why you should set up your own Personal Board of Advisers?
Here are a few reasons to set up your own board of advisers:
- Be accountable
- Stay grounded
- Navigate your fears
- Networking opportunities
- Measure your progress
- Develop meaningful and long term friendships
How to assemble your own Personal Board of Advisers?
My previous board of advisers had been created every 4 years which goes in sync with my professional re-inventions.
Having a diverse age group of people with multidisciplinary backgrounds is also important. Its size goes from 4 to 5 members and I always have at least two women on each board.
There are many different ways to create a successful personal board of advisers. Here are a few of my favorite resources to help you build your own board:
- MIT SLOAN – Assembling your personal board of advisors
- Harvard Business School – Forget mentors, employ a personal board of directors
- Huffington Post – 9 ways to make a personal board of directors