You Don't Need To Be A CEO To Have A Board Of Advisors.

April 4, 2024
Ahmadou DIALLO

Create Your Own. Yes, You Can Do That As Your Chief Everything Officer. 

“The best help you can get is someone who genuinely cares and knows how to help you get what you don’t even know you want.”

Richie Norton

I left Dakar, Senegal, West Africa in the early 2000s. I was just 20 years old. I have spent most of my life in a society where everything was done for me. I didn’t need to think about what to eat, wear, or sleep. I didn't need to think about my religious beliefs. I didn’t need to think about what I would be after I graduated. 

For my engineering studies, I landed in the South of France in a small city called Perpignan. My father came with me and dropped me there after just one week. For the first time in my life, I was on my own. 

Like many international students in France, I have to make many decisions on my own. My parents never lived in the same environment as me. I had different constraints than my peers and those around me in France.

I have to make decisions, most of the time in my nose square feet student room. Alone. I needed to ask for advice. I needed to ask for guidance. 

Sometimes, those questions were very sensitive. I did not want to share them with anybody. 

Without knowing it at that time, I started building my Board of Advisors. The first board member was my mentor.

Here are the five members that must be part of your board of Advisors:

1. Invite Your Mind Theater You.

2. Invite Your Best Friend You

3. Invite Your Mentor

4. Invite Your 8 Years Old

5. Invite Your 80 Years Old.

1. Invite Your Mind Theater You.

You are in the heat of the action. You find it challenging to take a helicopter view. You take every decision while you are also the one who will bear the consequences. 

You are the judge, jury, and executioner of your own demise. It is a burden that even the heavy weight-lifting champions struggle with. You cannot be the mind that experiences and observes without judgment. 

You may love movies and sports. Often, when you watch a play from your best sports team or a movie on your couch, you can see all the shortcomings of the protagonists on screen. 

Use the same technique to extract yourself from your life and be able to observe it with an external eye. 

Imagine that your life is a movie. You are sitting in the dark and eating popcorn on a red couch. You are your Mind Theater self. 

Watch yourself acting and reacting. See the challenges you are facing. Pause. Rewind. Replay. Analyze.

2. Invite Your Best Friend You

You made a mistake. You run short on your next objective. You have set unrealistic goals. The environment has changed. You do not have enough reps. Yet you jump into the pool of entrepreneurship. You make a leap of faith, and you jump to the next promotion. You cannot beat your addiction.

It is a big disaster. 

You beat yourself up. You are the harshest critic of yourself. Because you know yourself, you find it unbearable that you have failed. You whip yourself to the bone. You bleed yourself out of any kindness and humanity.

Now, imagine that you are not the one who did all those “horrible” things. Imagine that it is your best friend. You know that friend that you have known since kindergarten. You know that friend that has always been there for you, hail, rain or shine.

You would never treat your best friend like that. You would talk to them with empathy. You will forgive them for their shortcomings. You may give them a second, a third, or even a tenth chance. 

That is your Best Friend you. When shit gets out of hand, seek guidance from your Best friend you. 

3. Invite Your Mentor You

You have not been there. You are maybe just starting. You are perhaps not old enough. Maybe your mind feels too old for that thing you are trying to achieve. Your impostor syndrome kicks in.

You lose your grip on reality. You are overreacting. You feel stuck in your life. You freeze like hot water falling into the Arctic Pole. You lose your inner compass.

Everything is blurry. Your heart is blind. Your eyes are on mute while your mouth screams the sound of silence.

You don’t have to do it alone. No matter how successful you think you are in your journey, having a  mentor can make or break you. 

Often, you may not have access to that leader you admire. Just imagine the best person who is a source of inspiration to you.

Each time you are in a difficult situation, freeze. Ask the advice of that mentor. Wear their hat and try to answer your question through their eyes. 

4. Invite Your 8 Years Old

You feel like you are failing constantly. You have never done enough. You are impatient with yourself. You never try new things because of the fear of judgment.

You are dead alive. You are a living statue of doom. You are the adult who has locked away your inner child. You have the one that silenced your younger self. 

Imagine that you can talk to your 8-year-old version. You would be patient with that kid. You would use simple words to explain what they are doing wrong. You will give them a helping hand. You will play with them. You would kneel down to be at their level so they are not impressed by your adult height. 

Bring your 8-year-old self into the equation of life. Ask for their perspective. Imagine them playing through your eyes. Imagine them falling and getting up without the fear of judgment.

5. Invite Your 80 Years Old.

As an adult, you make decisions only by looking at the immediate consequences. You never consider the second or third-level implications down the road.

You lack clarity, experience, or wisdom. You don’t know the things you should prioritize now.

You are overwhelmed by life. Every decision is a struggle. Your mind is foggy. You are impulsive in your reactions and very slow to take action. You seek advice from other people. You are overloaded with advice. Those pieces of advice are contradictory, do not make sense for you where you are, and are just adding more confusion. 

Sit down with your older 80-year-old self. Imagine they are counseling you on what should be essential or not. 

Imagine that you are your 80-year-old self. When a challenging situation arises, let that person do the conversation or the prioritization.

You are already wise. You have already lived. Just seek counsel from your 80 years older self. And if you are already that age, ask your 110-year-old self. You get the drill. 

Final Thoughts

Just because you feel like you are your CEO (Chief Everything Officer) does not mean that you have to do it all. 

You may not have the opportunity to seek advice or guidance in every situation in your life with external help. If you can, then just do it. 

Yet, there will be many reasons that you would not want to be 100% transparent with an external person. You should always seek help, though, either externally or internally.

When reaching out to other people is out of the equation, make sure to reach out to your internal board of Advisors:

1. Your Mind Theater You.

2. Your Best Friend You

3. Your Mentor You

4. Your 8 Years Old

5. Your 80 Years Old.

Make sure to build that board of advisors if that is not the case. They will come in handy in many situations in your life. 

With their support, you will become your new CEO: Chief Emotional Officer. 

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#Dare2Care #Dare2Share

#BIOS #BringInyourOwnSoul #LeadHeartship #Leadership 

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