Lifeline Relationships: Forming Your Personal Board of Directors

Have you ever heard of the saying, “No man is an island”? This proverb, suggesting that we are interconnected and depend on one another, is particularly applicable in our professional lives. One can go only so far alone; beyond that, we need others. It’s not about the quantity, but the quality of those relationships. This is where the concept of Lifeline Relationships comes into play.

Inspired by Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back, this article explores the notion of creating your own Personal Board of Directors—a close-knit group of individuals committed to mutual success and growth. This collective exists not to let anyone within it fail. But first, let’s delve a little deeper into Ferrazzi’s philosophies.

Keith Ferrazzi’s Leadership Philosophy

Ferrazzi views leadership as a spiritual journey that requires courage, motivation, discipline, and commitment. As a long-time practitioner of Vipassana, he integrates his spiritual practice into his leadership style, offering transformative strategies for anyone seeking to establish a strong network of support.

He suggests that successful networking isn’t determined by the size of your contact list; rather, it is more accessible to those who can unabashedly say, “I need help.” Particularly in the current climate, Ferrazzi encourages focusing on Relationship Capital, building Lifeline Relationships that restore trust in a world dominated by fear and greed.

Crafting Your Personal Board of Directors

Creating your Personal Board of Directors isn’t an overnight task. It requires thoughtful selection and active engagement. Here are some guidelines to help you form your own Lifeline Relationships:

  1. Identify Influential Individuals: Look for three people in your life who have the potential to change it. They should be people whose advice you value and trust.
  2. Extend the Invitation: Share the concept of Lifeline Relationships with them. Ask if they’re willing to join you in this mutual growth journey.
  3. Lead with Generosity: Lifeline Relationships thrive on reciprocity. Who is always ready to help you? For whom would you go the extra mile?
  4. Foster Transparency: Who can you be completely honest with, knowing they will accept your vulnerabilities and reciprocate the trust?
  5. Ensure Accountability: Who can provide constructive criticism when necessary? Who do you trust to tell you the truth, even when it’s hard to hear?
  6. Preemptive Forgiveness: Agree to forgive each other in advance when mistakes happen. Engaging in healthy debates is encouraged!
  7. Establish a Relationship Action Plan (R.A.P.): This plan should be rigorous, routine, strategic, and systematic, guiding your collective growth.

Different Forms of Lifeline Relationships

Your Personal Board of Directors could take many shapes: Mastermind Groups, Learning or Coaching Communities, Wisdom Councils, Women’s or Men’s Circles, or Spiritual Communities. The essence remains the same—helping each other become the best versions of ourselves. That’s where the true strength of any team, organization, or initiative lies.

It’s a challenging journey, one that requires continuous effort, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. So, who’s ready to create their Personal Board of Directors? Will you help me do the same? Let’s begin the conversation and create an environment of mutual growth and success.


Shera Sever is a leadership consultant, empowering professionals and organizations to reach their peak performance.

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