Have you ever gotten really good at something and grazed at the mountain top?  While it’s OK to recognize your own accomplishments, it’s not good to linger too long at the top of one particular mountain.  Some of the reasons why people graze (sounds gentler than become complacent) are related to work-family balance, medical issues, general stress or perhaps it just feels right at the time.

As a young working mother, my personal focus was on providing for my family financially, developing a career and raising our daughters so that they would be prepared for the world.  Once the first two were satisfied and remained in a state of maintenance, I was freed up to assure my daughters were well supported in their teen years.  At that time, I also got involved in technical communities at a local and nationally while developing organizational and leadership skills.  So, while I was moving forward professionally I was doing so cautiously with the emergency brake on.

I tried numerous tactics to lift the emergency brake which includes several areas of self-study to propel myself career wise.  But, it seems that even my best plans were foiled by self-sabotage and my great ability to lean towards other distractions (life happens).  I took lots of time and thought deeply about my passions and the parts of my job that I enjoy.  It all came down to this: I LOVE Data, Connecting Data and business’ and connecting People via Technical Communities.

I was excited that I had come to the conclusion of some plausible career paths. But, It appeared that my established strategies of writing goals, envisioning, attacking them with brute force and/or tying them to other people or commitments no longer worked.  I obviously needed a new set of tools to reach my full potential.  I reached out to friends and mentors for feedback and later decided that I needed a dynamic coach.

In my journey of finding a new set of tools to remove the brakes from my “OK Plateau”, I came across the following articles/videos/quotes that resonated with me.  I’m sharing these resources in the hopes that I help someone else or I receive some feedback that will propel me.

Break Through Your “OK Plateau” By Studying Yourself Failing ~ Joshua Foer

How to Re-Program Your Subconscious Mind to Get What You Want ~ Marie Forleo

Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders (TedWomen Dec 2010)

To Succeed, Forget Self-Esteem

#IgniteNYC: When Failing Is Cool http://nyconvergence.com/2012/09/ignitenyc-when-failing-is-cool-ignitenyc.html#prclt-R2ymbxU4

When you become brave enough to be silent, the answers you seek will finally reveal themselves ~cherylrichardson.com

If you have this gut sucking gurgling urge to do something new that will shake your professional world at its core, you better be prepared.  Building a business, kicking off an entrepreneurial venture and changing career directions is not for the faint of heart!

Yes, of course there are some that appear to have some revolutionary idea and just appear to ‘rock it’ with minimal effort.

But, if you speak with these people and pull back the virtual ‘Wizard of Oz’ curtain, you’ll find that they are just like you, only they have employed a few more basic tools.

One of the things that people often omit from their bag of tools is a carefully selected personal board of directors (PBOD).  A board of directors is simply a diverse group of individuals that can be called upon to support your emotional and business needs.  Have you ever had a great product idea, started to act on it, got months into it and found yourself stressed and doubting your initial vision?  Well, this most likely isn’t a moment to pick up the phone and call your mother!!

I recently approached one of my exercise instructors that I have known for years.  She had recently announced she was leaving her current job at a local exercise franchise to start her own local franchise.  I congratulated her and told her how proud and excited I was of her for having the passion and confidence to start a business of her own.  I then asked her if she had familiarized herself with the local women owned business associations to get support.  She hadn’t and the conversation that followed wasn’t uplifting.  What was evident was that she had a deep passion and commitment level for the franchise that she had already invested 5+ years into.  What she wasn’t prepared for was the hostile response to this proposal at her current job and from owners of franchises in the surrounding areas.  She hadn’t defined a strong personal board of directors and as a result she felt alone, abandoned and even had thoughts of leaving the field all together.

I’m sure we all can relate to this situation and see it as pattern that may have happened in our own lives.  In an effort to create my own personal board of directors (in case I decide to do something really BIG), here’s my attempt at defining the cast of characters that will be at my table.

Personal Board of Directors Cast of Characters:

The World Traveler – She’s seen it all and her tolerance for stress in much higher than yours.

The Sage – The women that has known you from the beginning of time and knows when you are in a funk.  She knows when you aren’t following your heart.

“Cocktails”  – She’s the one who will open her home to you at a moment’s notice, explains the ‘maid’ hasn’t come this week, you don’t care and within minutes your babbling over a cocktail and the world is balanced again!

Energizer (think Bunny) – Have you ever met someone that instantly changes the energy level in the room and suddenly you feel energized?  You may want this person for your mentor.

The Headliner – She’s done it all in her field and ‘appears’ to be the most polished person in the room.  But, when you get to know her you uncover that she’s worked as hard as you have to.

Snarky (not Snooky) – She doesn’t hold ANYTHING back and is a HUGE walking OPINION on a stick.  Carefully plan time with this person and make sure to meet up with “Cocktails” or Energizer soon after.

Note: The cast has not been listed in any particular order.  I also have no plans of having them all sit with me at a table.  This would be disastrous and the table might implode!!

Data is Data is Data.  Everyone may not utilize, display and secure data in the same manner, but we are all attempting to do the same thing.  Can’t we just all get along?  As the era of cloud computing opens wide to the masses, the data world is becoming even more exciting with new terms like; Big Data, Data in the cloud, NoSQL, Business Intelligence in the Cloud.  DataMelange will explore this new world and provide resources to it.