There is no such thing as a truly ‘self-made’ person! Did you know that? America’s iconic cultural notion of the lone, flint-faced entrepreneur standing against the wind and rain, burning the midnight oil night after night, and forging the foundations of a great company … It’s a complete and utter fiction. A fable.

“Nobody is self-made!” – Click to Tweet

Instead, every person with notable success in any endeavor had help getting there! Athlete, Actor, or Author; Professor or Professional; Doctor or DJ. Eminem had Dr. Dre, Justin Bieber had Usher, and that entrepreneur down the street had somebody help her too! In fact, more likely, it was a group of somebodies – and without them success would not have been possible.

“When you see a turtle on a fencepost, you know he had help getting there!” – John Maxwell

In truth, I’m a turtle! So are you. And if we want to get atop life’s fence posts, we’re going to need some help getting up there! No matter what your dream involves, one of the most important ways to get started is by developing what I call a ‘Personal Board of Directors.’ That’s right! Just as big corporations assemble talented, experienced, individuals to help them make decisions and navigate life’s uncertainties so should you!


Here are five reasons you need a Personal Board of Directors:

  1. You need a ‘dream team’ – Your dream is not enough. You need a dream team! Maxwell notes that, “People recognize this truth in sports. They understand that they cannot win without the right players. But it also applies to every other aspect of life. If you want to achieve your dream, you need others willing to come alongside you and work with you … You can examine the story of any successful person who has achieved a dream, and you will find that he or she is surrounded by people who helped to make it happen.”
  2. You need inspiration – Inspiration can birth dreams, shape them, or help keep them alive, and other people are the raw material for inspiration! Think of the great stories of achievement, endurance, sacrifice, and service that grip your heart – they are all about other people! For every such story that reaches prominence, there are thousands of others buried in obscurity, waiting for you to unearth them like precious gems. However, these gems are not rare; and, if you will be intentional about building your Personal Board of Directors, you will be surprised at how many you find!
  3. You need encouragement – One of life’s inevitabilities is getting sidetracked. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves taking unwanted detours! At such times, we need people who will listen without condemnation, love unconditionally, and lift us back onto our feet. By developing a Personal Board of Directors, you will be prepared for life’s unforeseen inevitabilities because you will have a group of people already in place and ready to offer the support and encouragement necessary.
  4. You need constructive feedback – “Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self; for what we wish, we readily believe.” – Demosthenes. Many people never embrace this truth, and fewer still go looking for it. Some people fear reality, while others think they know better. Constructive feedback offers you a more objective perspective, which can help you avoid some mistakes and capitalize on the others. If you’re unaware of pitfalls, you are much less likely to avoid them! Worse yet, you may pay the high price of experience and lose out on the lessons mistakes offer. As Stephen Covey says, “It takes humility to seek feedback … [and] wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.” You supply the humility, and your Personal Board of Directors will help with the rest!
  5. You need additional assets – Each of us has a unique set of strengths and talents accentuated by education and experience. Nonetheless, not one of us is the ‘complete’ package. Consequently, to reach our full potential, we each need the complementary talents and skills of others! Once again, this is where your Personal Board of Directors applies. You play to your strengths, and craft a group of supporters to cover your weaknesses. As Proverbs 15:22 exhorts “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

You’ve identified a dream. You’ve chosen a fencepost.

Want to get to the top?

“There really is no such thing as a self-made person. People who are successful have had help along the way from others – whether or not they want to acknowledge it. Knowing this truth can free you to admit you need help and begin looking for it. And that’s a crucial step in the process of achieving success.” – John Maxwell. Start developing your Personal Board of Directors, and get on your way!

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a series dedicated to helping you learn to develop your own Personal Board of Directors. If you found this post helpful, be sure not to miss the others – subscribe to NexTwelve via the link in the upper right hand corner!

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