When I found myself deep in The Doldrums in 1994, God placed Claire Donovan on my Personal Advisory Board. She inspired the article (link below), and is referenced in the opening paragraph. I wrote the original version in 1999, when I launched a new chapter with my own executive coaching practice. Without the support of Claire and my other "dream teamers," I would not have made the leap into the life God had waiting for me.
Claire e-mailed me Sunday to tell me that she has a treatable, but not curable, cancer lesion on her spine. I send this, my most requested article, to honor her and ask for your healing prayers.
You have my permission to forward it to anyone in your circle who wants to create, expand, or diversify their own advisory board. The article can also help readers think about the role they most like to occupy on the boards of others, and to be more intentional about helping in their uniquely gifted way.
Asking for specific support--and being truly "helpable"--is clearly beneficial for the receiver, but I believe that being tapped as a valuable resource is equally enriching, affirming, and transformative for the giver. As Frederic Buechner so eloquently said, "Our calling is where our deep gladness meets the hunger of the world."
You don't have to wait for a formal invitation, however, or declare yourself as someone's official coach or mentor, to add tremendous value. I thank God that Claire didn't wait for an invitation, because I was not too "helpable" in those days. Neither one of us would have labeled her as my mentor, but in retrospect, she absolutely was. We sensed a connection, we leaned in with trust, vulnerability, and truth-telling, and she changed my life.