What Do You Want Out of Life? (and, by extension, your career?)

When I was growing up, I never understood the fascination with celebrities. My mother would take me to the grocery store, and I would see print magazines spilling off the racks, full of minute details about their lives. This was back before the Internet, of course. Now we visit websites, download videos and podcasts and follow Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter feeds of our favorite larger-than-life personalities.

What is it about the people “the world” admires that is different from the average Jane or Joe? What gets at the heart of making someone into a success? These were questions that interested me at a young age. As I grew up, I learned that fame and success were often unrelated. There is a whole other class of people who are highly successful and receive more private accolades and other forms of praise (compensation being only one).

As I was working on my second book, Know Yourself, Grow Your Career, I approached this question from another angle. Rather than asking what are the hallmarks of success, I asked how someone can create success from the inside.

The conundrum is always this – how can we do what we want to do and also find a way to make that into a career? If you have young children, you will see that they naturally find things they like to do. Sports, music, art, performance, cooking and other talents emerge. As parents, we can encourage these tendencies, and we often judge whether a child is “actually talented enough” to make a career of something. I hear parents say all the time things like, “Yes, Tim is really good at soccer, but I don’t think he’s good enough to make a career out of it.”

Most of us appreciate, in the context of children, that these judgment calls are important on one level but can be very limiting on another. They can help children develop an appropriate level of risk aversion, and most parents mean them in this vein. But sometimes these comments can take away the very things that give a child joy because they are focused on a bright-line test: the yes-no answer of whether one can make money and success out of one’s passions.

If we could fast-forward twenty years in Tim’s life, we would get to see what happened with the soccer. Did he continue to play? Does he still love the game? Is he athletic in other ways as an adult? What carried through from his early interests into his adult life?

Beautiful girl enjoying nature

We often view those who achieve success and fame with a lens of sentimentality and a sense that living with purpose, in touch with our interests and values, is out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If I return to my initial question – what do we admire about celebrities? – it is essentially this: they are doing what they love. (Or, at least, they appear so from the outside.) The average Joes, Janes and Tims, on the other hand, have foregone what they love in the service of what they can tolerate and get paid to do.

Now let’s avoid the pejoratives here. Soccer isn’t necessarily a higher calling than lawyering, for example. A kid who loves soccer can grow up, become a lawyer and love his career and life. This means his interests have changed. On the other hand, a kid can love soccer, be told it’s child’s play and he needs to “get serious.” He then looks around, latches on lawyering because of one influence or another (without thinking it through) and end up with a career and life that he abhors.

I’m talking to that second Tim. As a career coach, I get calls all the time from people just like him. They chose careers so removed from their interests, talents and strengths that they are floundering, just treading water or completely overwhelmed in their jobs. It’s hard to talk about concepts like thought leadership or career advancement when they can’t even see a future for themselves beyond the current week.

If you are in that place, here’s a glimmer of where to start. Think of what you loved as a child. Drill down into that. If it was soccer, was it the feeling of being part of a team? Was it the adrenaline rush of a goal? If it was guitar, did you feel “one” with the music, loving the vibrations rushing through your body? Did you achieve a sense of peace that you find difficult to replicate in other areas of your life?

These are just ideas. Rekindle and regain a connection with your deepest desires – or find new ones – and ask yourself what speaks to you when you connect with them. Then, from that place of feeling centered and whole, ask yourself how you can build out your life and career from there. 

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, author, resume strategist, member of Forbes Coaches Council, mother of two middle schoolers and former practicing attorney. She is the author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals and Know Yourself, Grow Your Career: The Personal Value Proposition Workbook (available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and local booksellers).

Image credit above: Adobe Stock.

 

Don’t Miss the Obvious Points of Interviewing

AdobeStock_65976046 (beyond obvious).jpg
Look for the obvious – and beyond. (Adobe Images)

In my new book, Master the Interview, I discuss the importance of recognizing the questions “behind the questions.” If you want results in your job interviews, this is a crucial point.

As I mentioned in my prior post, there are the questions that your interviewer asks, and there are often other questions that he/she really wants answered:

Interviewers ask other questions – such as “what is your ideal job?” – that approximate what they want to discover about the candidate, knowing that many of these questions are poor proxies for what they really want to know yet hoping that the questions they do ask get them there.

When interviewers ask “how you overcame a setback in your professional career,” for example, they are asking for about problem-solving skills and resilience. 

As you are preparing for an interview, don’t miss the obvious points. At the same time, look behind the obvious. Instead of simply reacting quickly to a question asked – with all of your adrenalin pumping and your mind on high alert – take a mental step back (a quick one, truth be told) and allow the underlying theme of the question to sink in. Then, you will know that your answer is not only authentic, but also relevant to the job.

If you can not only answer the question asked but also address the underlying theme of the question, you set yourself up for job interview success.

Please follow up for more details at my prior post.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. Her new book, Master the Interview, is available on Amazon.com. For more information about Anne Marie’s coaching and resume writing work or to request a potential speaking engagement in the New York area, please visit www.segalcoaching.com.

 

 

Young Women Lawyers: Get Respect

shutterstock_146589713 (resolve)

“Our outside counsel is always very condescending toward me. He takes time to make comments in front of my bosses that make me look very bad. I may not know a quarter of what he does as an expert, but I am still the client.

I am tired of it but don’t know how to deal with this.” 

This morning I received an email from a young client that outlined the scenario above. It is one of many inquiries I have received as a coach, and as a senior attorney beforehand, that revolve around a single, critical issue: As a young woman attorney (or, in some cases, a senior woman attorney), how can I get the respect I deserve?

Each scenario has its own fine details, but here are some of the points to consider when a situation like this affects you, and ways to achieve greater resolution and respect:

1.   Keep your cool, if possible. I have had senior women partners at major law firms tell me in person that the proverbial “they thought I was a secretary” has actually happened to them.

In one instance that I remember clearly, an attorney (let’s call her Isabel) told me that upon meeting a new partner (Kevin) randomly in an elevator one morning, after their firms merged, said that she was glad to meet him and be able to work with him. Kevin said hello and followed up question about her typing speed.

Isabel answered sweetly, “I am going to let that one slide, as it is clear that you didn’t realize I am one of your new partners.” Rather than being mortified, she let the news sink in and allowed him be mortified by his mistake. At the same time, she didn’t denigrate support staff as a role beneath her, which doesn’t help anyone either, just stated the facts. Isabel told me that to this day, Kevin is extra careful to be respectful around her.

While this may sound like something only a partner can pull off, associates can also keep their cool when asked to get coffee (while the male associates are working on a deal) and the like. The key is to stay calm, rather than sounding like you are annoyed or resentful, even though you may be. Humor works too.

“Sorry, I don’t do coffee. Or windows.”

2.  Enlist your superiors. The worst thing you can do is imagine that you will change someone’s behavior unless there is some real leverage over him/her. It is likely that attorneys and others who do not give you the respect you deserve will not be aware of how they are acting until someone they do respect points it out to them. If there is a consistent pattern of mistreatment, you need to find someone you trust who can try to remedy the situation. If you maintain good working relationships with people above you, that conversation is much easier. Remember not to accuse the person but focus instead on the behavior.

In some cases, rather than enlisting the person’s support, it might be a topic first broached as a request for advice, “Isabel, I have a question about Kevin. Last night while I was drafting your Shareholders’ Agreement, he asked me to get him coffee. Any ideas how to approach that if it happens again?”

If possible, avoid the words “problem” or “issue” if you can, at least in the first conversation. You are simply asking for input about how to improve the situation, not labeling it as a problem (which may stick in Isabel’s mind to your detriment, as unfair as that seems). Of course, if the lack of respect is much more serious, then it does need to be raised as such. 

3.  Understand that the institution may be broken. There are times – more than we wish to know about – that bad behavior is tolerated because an individual is otherwise valuable to the firm. Usually this means he/she is making the firm lots of money, but there are other reasons that someone may be able to consistently act poorly to others and remain in a seat of power. In these cases, you need to figure out if you can (generally) isolate yourself from the individual without harming your career, or if it is time to move on.

If you have determined that senior management will continue to allow certain individuals to undermine you and treat you poorly, it is important to free yourself of the toxicity that can result from being too long in that type of environment, which can have an affect on your overall health. 

4.  Embody confidence gracefully. If you are subject to condescension, be confident without doing a reverse power play. Know your strengths, and do not allow yourself to be “tripped up” by the fancy footwork of someone who thrives on always being right or in charge. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your homework, get up to speed or (at times) work hard to understand complicated things on your own. What is does mean is that people are much less likely to talk over you or give you short shrift if you make it clear that it is not in their best interest to do so.

For example, if I were in the same situation as my client above, I would probably say something like, “Thanks, Joe, I’m glad you understand all of this so well. What’s important for both of us right now is for me to understand the parts I need to advise Susan [the CEO] on this transaction. I don’t need to become an expert. I just need you to slow down and explain this one part again so I can get it right and anticipate her questions about it.”

If Joe still lords over you, you may need to speak up for yourself again, or call back for clarification. “You sent me to the statute, but when I read the statute, it isn’t exactly as I heard you explain it. Let me walk you through what I heard again. Yep, I want to make completely sure the rules haven’t changed and there is nothing else we are missing in this case…. Do you have the statute in front of you? OK, call me back when you have it open…”

What is crucial here is that you step into the role of power, without ever calling direct attention to that fact. You are the one advising the CEO (or other senior management). Joe is there to serve you and your company, which is why you are paying him in the first place. Don’t make him lose face by saying it directly, especially if you have no direct influence over whether to fire him and hire someone else. (Influence you should take pains to cultivate over time, by the way.)

Take the microphone, as the saying goes, rather than telling Joe that he needs to give it to you.

5.  Invoke curiosity. Just as coming from a place of humor can work to diffuse a situation, so can curiosity. I will give you an example from my law firm days. I was representing a CEO who has just fired his COO. My guy claimed that the other guy just wasn’t doing any work, but there was an issue that the employment agreement (which thankfully I hadn’t drafted) did not explicitly list this as a reason the COO could be fired. The dispute was not only over regular compensation, but whether the COO should receive any future profits or be cut off on the date of termination.

The COO’s lawyer called me in a hot and bothered state. His guy was not going to budge. He would get 100% of what he was asking for or we were going to court. And what did I think about that?

I could have been offended along the lines of “Who was this person trying to crush me like a bug?” I could have gotten huffy in return. But I did not. Instead, I approached the comment with a posture of curiosity. “How interesting that you would take a hardline approach,” I said. “You obviously know that we will just do the same in return. [Which was true.] Our clients have some emotional skin in the game. Don’t you think as lawyers it is our job to keep clear heads?”

It worked. I had leveled the playing field. We were lawyers – equals – and it was our job to sort this out. The other attorney was so flabbergasted he had to get off the phone a few minutes later, flubbing his words. He was obviously used to turning the screws and getting his way, and I had made it clear in so many words that this negotiating tactic would not work with me.

He was mad on a second call. I was curious again. “Are we fighting with each other too now? I thought we were the lawyers.” I then walked him through my points one by one. Again, I threw him off his game, and he stopped talking down to me, because he could see it would get him nowhere. We won the dispute, and I kept my self-respect.

Lawyers and others, if you have your own ideas about how to gain respect in a particular workplace situation, feel free to leave a comment below.

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and résumé writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. For more information, please visit her website at www.segalcoaching.com.

© 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.

 

Image above: Shutterstock.

 

 

 

Successful Career Transition Stage 2: Vet Your Options

shutterstock_229967803 (three doors of decisionmaking)

Kristina has always secretly dreamed of owning a vineyard in France.

She has other dreams, too. But this one just won’t go away.

How can Kristina, from her windowless desk at a bank in New York City, figure out how to bring more of her dream life into her actual life?

Exploration is the first stage of a successful career transition, as I covered in my prior post. Stage 2 is a decision-making process that involves vetting the ideas that have been uncovered through brainstorming, research, informational interviews, networking and other means of discovery. We vet against a set of factors that we have enumerated, such as our values, talents, interests, skills, financial needs and the market.

These two first stages (exploration and vetting) work in tandem but are distinct. In fact, we do them naturally every day, but not always intentionally.  More importantly, too often we rush to judgment about our ideas without fully opening ourselves to the brainstorming process, missing valuable information about ourselves and our true career goals as we try to vet while still exploring ideas. Often this rush is triggered by our own anxiety about transition, while at times it is the expediency of the situation.

In the best case scenario, we will explore and vet in a cycle, which will look a lot like the following image. We explore ideas, we vet them, and then we explore again. In other words, each time we make an interim decision about career transition that has not led us to a final conclusion, we go back to the proverbial drawing board with an open mind, returning to further vetting until we make a final decision (about one or more options to pursue in our career transition).

Here is what this might look like.

Exploration - Vetting

As we covered in the prior post, there are three aspects of the brainstorming phase:

Creative Mindset – Facts – Exploration

Kristina can generate ideas about her vineyard dream, conduct actual research into what it takes to own a vineyard and explore her questions with people who are already in her dream space.

As a coach, one of the points I would try to tease out from Kristina is what exactly appeals to her about this dream. Some of the appeal may be one or more of the following:

  • Living on the land; more in-tune with the seasons
  • Being involved with the wine community
  • Making money while drinking wine! 🙂
  • Doing something completely different than her current job – i.e., curing burnout
  • Feeling relaxed, the way she feels on vacation
  • Owning her own business; being her own boss
  • Living in France; speaking French
  • Feeling as though she has made an impact on the world
  • Leading a team of people committed to a quality product

For your own dream job, I would encourage you to do the same brainstorming about what exactly is appealing about that dream. Think through what is missing in your life that this dream job would offer. Imagine what you would be doing every day and how that would support your values and vision of yourself.

Notice that we haven’t yet vetted anything. We don’t know if Kristina has the money it takes to buy a vineyard (or could get financing), the talents to do it, the stomach for the risks or the true interest in doing the day-to-day work of running a vineyard. We also don’t know if she would be any good at it – would she be able to sell any wine? There are a hundred questions she would need to answer before actually moving forward, and each of those questions (and their answers) may open more ideas to explore as well as offer good feedback to Kristina about how a successful career transition would look.

The reason for separating exploration and vetting is that we often try to make decisions with too little information. Kristina will not know why this particular dream keeps coming up if she does not explore it, without the shoulds getting in the way. (You know the shoulds, I am sure. She should be practical. She should stop wasting time with something that will never happen…. And the rest of their should cousins.)

As part of her exploration, Kristina can explore vineyards from Long Island to Provence and beyond. She can talk to people in the business. She can sign up for Alliance Francaise, if her French is a little rusty. If she feels ambitious and tentatively committed to see if this could go anywhere  – or just for fun, to give it a whirl – she can create a business plan for the vineyard. In other words, Kristina can bring her dream world a bit more into her real world and recall the sensation of being carried away by an idea. 

In summary, the openness and creativity resulting from Kristina’s indulgence of her dream job idea may at some point lead to the actual result of opening her own vineyard – if it passes the vetting process – or it may throw off side ideas that are a better fit.

If you are ready to move to Stage 2, here are the main points to vet:

Values – Talents – Interests – Skills – Needs – The Market

Like Kristina, once you have some ideas on the table and have done your initial exploration with an open mind (whether these ideas represent dream jobs or simply “a bit better than what I have now” jobs), you are ready to subject these ideas to the vetting process. As an overview, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Your Values: Will the targeted role be meaningful to you? Will it meet your top values or will there by any values that need to be compromised (or left unmet) in this role?
  • Your Talents: Does it play to your strengths, and will it best utilize your greatest talents?

To insert an example here, in Kristina’s case, does she understand the how to market wine (or could she learn it) and would she enjoy doing that? What about how to run a farm? Run a business? Manage people? Manage cash flow?

What other talents will she need, and which of these play to her strengths?

  • Your Interests: Will the role be challenging and interesting on a daily basis? Are the problems that arise ones that you enjoy solving?
  • Your Skills: Do you have what is needed for the targeted role and if not, how can you acquire those skills? What commitment is needed to close the gap?
  • Your Needs: Will the role serve your financial needs? Will it meet other needs, such as the need for autonomy, the need to feel part of a team or the need to be recognized for good work?
  • Your Temperament: Will the minor annoyances in this job one day become major ones? Are you well suited to the day-to-day aspects of the role?
  • The Market: Does the marketplace need what you would like to do? How many of this type of role is available at the level that will meet your financial needs? Note: If it is a new idea or a niche market, you may need to conduct market research to know the answer to this point – don’t assume that just because you build it (and love it yourself), they will come.

Through thoughtful exploration and careful vetting – which is not all work, it can be fun too! – you will find new ways to frame and “reframe” your ideas and decisions about career transition. Whether you are looking to make a major change like the one above or if you simply want to tweak your current role, putting structure and organization around the process helps you make better decisions. You also may, as part of the process, find a “bridge job” that will help you incorporate into your life some aspects that are missing, as you continue to explore and vet your longer vision for your career.

For example, say that Kristina decides that she does want to go for it and open a vineyard in France – not an immutable decision, but a concrete goal – and that she has or can find the means to do so. She may first move from her bank job in New York to a similar role in Paris – admittedly also a move that takes effort – as a way to get geographically closer to her goal, meet more people who can make it a reality and satisfy a number of points on her dream list that appeal to her. Alternatively, she may seek a role at a vineyard (or a service provider to vineyards) in some capacity that is closer to her current role and uses her current skills, learning the business as she goes.

Remember: neither is not a compromise, either is a bridge. As she takes smaller risks and gets closer to the life she desires, Kristina will increase her resilience, self-awareness and capacity for change. 

Hungry (or thirsty) for change? What will your next move be? 

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and résumé writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She helps clients with career exploration and other stages of the job search process. For more information, please visit her website at www.segalcoaching.com.

 

© 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.

First image above: Shutterstock.

I Don’t Want a Coach. I Just Want a Job.

shutterstock_424911079 (hands)

My daughter is nine. Lately, she wants to be an actress. She saw a casting call for Descendants 3, and she is ready to head to Vancouver (we live in Connecticut) to audition, if I will just say yes.

As we read through the requirements, among other things, you must submit a resume that lists your acting experience. My daughter has been in a few local shows at her school and the community center. It is “real” acting, but not necessarily the type that is valued by casting directors. I watch her scour the internet for information and other opportunities, quite devoted and pumped up (as only someone who is just reaching double digits in age can be).

An acting coach’s website pops up in one of her searches about whether a certain agency is a scam. “Oh, a coach could be helpful,” I tell her. “She could let you know how to prepare for your big break. What to learn, where to look for opportunities…”

My daughter turns to me, scoffs and delivers a classic line. “I don’t want a coach, Mom. I just want a job.” Other than the addition of my maternal moniker, she sounds like a few of my clients, if they would just be honest with themselves and me.

Yesterday a prospect pointedly asked me how fast my clients get jobs, as if that were a true measure of my success as a career coach. I gave her the honest answer, which is that “it depends.” I know there are some coaches who make promises – an interview in X weeks or a job in Y months. The truth is that I have clients who get an interview the same week we start working together, and I have others who struggle for some time after that. As I said to the prospect, there are three factors at play: (1) does the person have clarity on what he/she wants, (2) does he/she have skills that the marketplace needs and (3) is he/she ready to go?

Coaching is not a job placement service, but I do have prospective clients who contact me all the time wanting me to “find them a job” rather than help them do the tough but satisfying professional development to prepare themselves for their job search and interview process. They want a magic shot or shock to their system that will make the pain go away (pain of unemployment, pain of a toxic or numbing job, pain of not advancing, etc.) rather than being open to learning a better approach that will serve them in the short term and long term. By contrast, my clients who have the most success are the ones that have or can acquire the three points below.

Clarity. To be successful in a job search, you need clarity on what you are seeking and what roles will actually be a good match for you at the present moment. Notice I did not say “to find a job” you need clarity, but rather to be successful in your search. There are many people who are quite good at finding new jobs, only to be continually disappointed with the results, because they do not ask themselves what they really want to achieve in the short term and long term. There are others who struggle for months to find something, only to realize after starting a new role that it is not what they expected. In both cases, you are better able to find a match for your interests, talents and values if you have invested the time and energy (with or without a coach) to understand what those are.

Skills. What are the hard and soft skills, from strategic thinking to asset-backed financing or from stakeholder engagement to Hadoop – or, as in my daughter’s case, the ability to act, sing and dance – that are required by the targeted roles? Can you demonstrate that you have what it takes or are able to quickly get up to speed, closing the gap? In some fields and roles, in which skills are easier to acquire and there is a huge demand for each open position, you will almost always need to demonstrate your accomplishments in advance. In other cases, and with forward-thinking hiring managers, what you need to demonstrate is an understanding of how the role contributes to the organization, the ability to solve problems and an immediate aptitude and readiness to acquire the needed skills to make that happen.

ReadinessLet’s return again to that last point, readiness. I sometimes describe it as having the “light turned on,” like a cab that is free to pick up passengers. The single most important indicator to job search success, which I notice every day among my clients, is an ability to stand ready for the opportunities that life presents. In fact, cultivating readiness is often a central element to the coaching process – whether we discuss, for example, how to prioritize networking opportunities or present one’s value proposition to the specific audience at hand – and it can be the one that yields the greatest results. Readiness includes openness, self-confidence, responsiveness and an ability to (leave one’s baggage at the curb and) live/work/be in the moment.

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and résumé writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. 

© 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.

Image above: Shutterstock.

 

Do You Need a Personal Board of Advisors?

woman boardroom

The board of directors of a company addresses high-level business objectives, with voting authority and fiduciary obligations. A board of advisors is more informal, providing non-binding strategic advice that can benefit a start-up or smaller company by giving it third-party insights, encouragement, market knowledge, accountability, connections and other resources. Savvy individuals have come to realize that, especially in the new economy, we are each our own business to a greater or lesser degree, whether or not we officially operate as one. Does that mean we each need our own board of advisors?

Many successful professionals intuitively create a loose association of advisors without formalizing the relationships. They have mentors and occasional professional advisors that function in an ad hoc way to support short-term projects or “put out fires” in their business lives. This approach is a great first step, and formalizing this core group frames your trajectory in a foundational way and keeps you on the path to success.

Clearly, you do not need to hold meetings in a fancy boardroom with leather chairs or even get all of your advisors in a room together. While it may help focus the conversation, it can also prove a distraction if it is not a place or assembled group that feels comfortable enough to relax and creatively brainstorm and troubleshoot according to your needs. In fact, your respective advisors do not even need to know each other, since you are not a company for whom they are collectively setting policy but rather an individual seeking guidance, support, grounding and the oh-so-important reality checks. I do suggest, however, that you take more than an occasional, eccentric approach to incorporating one or more boards of advisors into your significant life and professional decisions. Have the infrastructure already in place for the moment of truth when you really, truly need it, so you can call on your advisors without triangulating their whereabouts or struggling to identify whom these angels should be.

I use the word “framing” above very deliberately. With my coaching clients, I often discuss reframing an experience to take ownership in a new way. For example, sales becomes less scary (and ceases to feel inauthentic) if you believe passionately in the service you are providing. A board of advisors becomes less of a foreign concept as an individual if you believe passionately in your own success and wish to give others the opportunity to share in that experience, with a willingness to offer your own help in advance or give back in return. Your passion fuels their willingness to be involved.

In my own life, I have found greater success in those periods that I had a “board”, whether it was a formal group of colleagues meeting on a regular basis or roster of individual mentors and professional advisors that I turned to regularly. Much earlier in my career, I was nervous or fearful that I was taking too much time from people who already had busy careers. At the same time, I failed to invest in myself, financially or otherwise, to get the professional insights that would have made a decisive impact on my advancement.

Why? I thought putting my head down and cranking out whatever was asked of me in the moment showed my “worth” more than cultivating relationships. My accomplishments would speak for themselves, I thought, not realizing the entire world that I was shutting out while I repeatedly closed my door to do some “real work”. I also failed to understand the value I would create by involving others in my experiences and sharing my insight for theirs in return. Value for all, not only for me.

Electing the right mix to your board of advisors and tapping into them is not  an exercise in taking – which is a dead end – but rather in creating value through meaningful personal interactions. In short, you are tapping into the electrifying power of collaboration in a formal way. By electing these mentors, colleagues and advisors to your “team”, you are fostering buy-in for your success. If you are respectful and show gratitude for their investment in your future, your newly-formed board can provide a critical backbone and sounding board to help you frame, keep sight of and reach your goals.

In a future post, I will discuss how you can assemble the right board for you.