So much has been in the news recently about boards of directors, seemingly to be asleep at the wheel while major corporations crumbled. Most boards are designed to provide oversight and guidance to the direction of a business. Good or bad, boards of directors effect the direction of a business. What about a life? Who sits on the “board of directors” for your life? Who has made an imprint upon you in such a way that their influence has cast a direction for your life?

Recently, I have been reviewing who sits on the board of directors for my life. Here is a snapshot:

My grandmother who was adventurous, mischievous and somewhat risqué all rolled up into a southern farm woman. She loved a good joke, and a dirty one even better! My mother taught her how to drive. She then bought a car and drove around our small town without ever getting her license. She cheated when she played cards and could make losing fun. In the early 1960’s, she hopped a plane and flew to the west coast in order to be with a daughter that was very sick. Prior to this, the greatest distance she had traveled before was about a 25 mile radius from her home. She taught me a lot about courage and adventure.

My father sits on my board. Of the many things a parent teaches you, the one thing he taught me that I wish he hadn’t was how to die gracefully. He endured a very horrible demise with quiet grace and courage. I hope I die that well.

My friend Faye has walked with me through the darkest period of my life. She was a beacon of light when I thought the darkness would envelope me. She taught me a lot about continuing the journey, even when I didn’t think another step could be made.

Often times many people come into your life right out of nowhere. My friend Andrea lives up to every description of a best friend. She has been a rock of consistent strength, no matter how rough my edges. She has taught me how to give and receive the gift of friendship from a healthy place.

Some people that sit on my board haven’t necessarily had an initial positive impact. While in high school, I received a recruiting catalog from a university. This particular person was there when I opened the mail and responded, “What are you going to go to college for, you’ll never amount to anything.” As deep as the words cut they have impacted me to be a high achiever, driven to success.

Some people will always be on my board; others will come and go based on where I am in life. What about you, who sits on the board of your life? What impact have they had in shaping your journey? Whose board do you sit on? What influence do you have?

Author's Bio: 

Jan Hinton is a coach, presenter, and humorist. Jan offers purposeful coaching with a sense of humor for professionals who want to make strategic, effective and insightful decisions in their business, careers and personal lives. People call us when they need a sounding board, a third-party perspective, and a good laugh. She can be reached at or