The light was appropriately ethereal that cold January day, it was like walking in a dream.
It hadn't been long since my mum had passed. Acutely aware of the grief still hovering over my head, I paused for a moment to drink in the soothing sound of the waves as they hit the shore. My daughter had walked on ahead of me, and as I turned to see how far she had gone, I noticed this path of ghostly footprints walking beside her. In that moment a sense of calm and comfort washed over me for what this scene represented.
I managed to mobilize my frozen fingers well enough to pull my camera out from under my coat to capture what has become much more than a just a photograph to me. It has served as a gentle reminder that whenever I feel alone on this journey, or could use a little shoring up, I simply need to call on the wisdom and strengths of those whom I consider my guides - whether they're here, or somewhere else.
I don’t remember when I was first introduced to the idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors”, but I do know that the moment the concept was offered to me, I wholeheartedly embraced it with every fibre of my being.
I let the idea simmer for a while until I could decide how I wanted to select and orchestrate my assembly of advisors. While I knew from the beginning that my grandfather would be my Chairman of the Board, I’ve spent years, and years filling the remaining seats.
My board members are people who have demonstrated the kind of character, habits, courage, spirit and intentions that I want to adopt. Now, all these years later, I’d be hard pressed to think of an area of my life that doesn’t have board member representation.
Some of my board members know they sit at the table, some don’t. Some I’ve known personally, some I have yet to meet. Some are still alive, some are not. Some have been sitting at the table from the beginning, some I have lovingly retired. New board members are thoughtfully welcomed, which now include my grown children, whom I learn from daily. I consult with many board members face to face, others I consult with from a more imaginative place. I’ve found helpful guidance from both kinds of encounters.
As I grow and evolve, so does my board, but the value of this team always remains the same. By honoring and celebrating the best others have to offer, the more my efforts to grow and evolve who I am, and the life I’m leading, are leveraged.
Mentors don’t always show up when we need them, sometimes it’s up to us to go out and find them. What I know for sure is that every time I’ve been on a quest for a guide, I’ve found at least one, if not more.
The process of populating and utilizing a Personal Board of Directors continues to provide me with countless learning opportunities, along with an unshakable belief that people are generous with their care, knowledge and time, given the chance. I've also learned that when I humble myself, release my need to have all of the answers myself and ask for help – most often someone shows up just when I need them…to walk beside me for a while. Real or imagined.