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  • Writer's pictureSarah Skedsvold

My Personal "Board of Directors" *REPOST 1/12/20*

Personal Board of Directors?

One universally agreed-upon role of a Board of Directors is to “collectively direct”…

I have a lifelong commitment to learning, oftentimes through podcasts and books…and the people and ideas that I’ve chosen to surround myself with have colored the decisions that I’ve made throughout, and if that doesn’t constitute “collectively directing” than I’m not sure what does.

The following are the 5 individuals who I consider to sit on my Personal Board of Directors…their contribution to the universe has had a substantial impact on how I have evolved throughout the years, extending into my relationships, how I view the world and how I do my part to make a positive impact in the universe…

They are in no particular order

Tim Ferriss

When I was first introduced to Tim Ferriss, back in 2009 I didn’t get him…at all… I’d downloaded The 4 Hour Work Week listened to the first couple of chapters and I just didn’t get it…Even after that rough start, Tim has had a huge impact on the way I approach life. I don’t recall when I started listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast but I can say that I’ve spent hundreds of hours listening to his interview world-class performers distill their craft into easily digestible pieces and parts. Beyond his interviews…observing his journey through very vulnerable blog posts, podcast episodes and his TED talk have made an incredible impact as well…

…the one thing that I would recommend from Tim Ferriss is his Ted talk on what he calls “Fear Setting”…it turns goal setting on its head and allowed me to get very clear about the cost of inaction, especially when launching Nine-Four Coaching.


Oprah was always on when I got home from school…always…she’s been a nearly constant presence in my life for at least 30 years.

Oprah has credibility with me that can only be developed over decades…She’s introduced me to a number of people and concepts that have shaped who I have grown into…I could dedicate my entire blog to daily entries about how Oprah has shaped my life and I would never run out of content…but I will not do that…

…instead, I will recommend the best way that I’ve found to explore Oprah’s universe and find for yourself the people and concepts that speak to you…Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations Podcast

She has hundreds of interviews and thousands of hours of wisdom to sift through…If I can offer 1 episode I would be the episode titled “Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter”. It’s 24 minutes of your favorite aunt telling you over and over that you matter…who you are matters…what you feel matters and why

Jocko Willink

I was introduced to Jocko Willink by Tim Ferriss in September 2015 and have been a fan ever since…At the time I was just coming off the most intense 2 years of my military life and Jocko’s message fit right in with the sense of self that only unbelievably hard and unbelievably rewarding work can provide.

I was on fire and there was just no denying that…Fire is a funny thing… based on perspective, it’s a tool, it’s a comfort, or it’s a weapon…It lights a way, it motivates, it burns, it destroys or it dies out…

Over the following 2 years, that fire dimmed and it almost died…by the time I stopped and realized where I was and how dim my fire was…I went back to a 2 minute YouTube clip of Jocko telling me, and a lot of people I imagine who’s used that same clip over and over that, I wasn’t lost…nothing was lost…what I was feeling was really low and you know what? That’s a good thing…I’m learning a lesson and I will come back stronger and smarter and will use this lesson to be better… I am still in the fight, failure isn’t fatal, failure is learning, and it is a good thing…

st. Benedict of Nursia

I attended the University of Mary to finish out my Bachelor's degree. The University of Mary is a Benedictine University and centers itself within the Benedictine values of service, hospitality, moderation, prayer, respect for persons, and community, and while I’d appreciate the sentiment I didn’t quite get the bigger ‘why’ behind it…

Then, one of my final management classes revolved around the book st. Benedict’s Rule for Business Success…and it clicked. I learned about how st. Benedict pulled his monastery out of the financial crisis and more importantly created a flourishing culture that resonated with centers of excellence hundreds or years after its creation.

While I’m not 100% lockstep with every aspect of the book. There is enough of it that is aligned with my personal values that have made it a litmus test that I continually place Nine-Four Coaching against:

  • The first order of business is to build a group of people who, under the influence of the institution, grow taller and become healthier, stronger, and more autonomous

  • Throughout history, almost every culture has had art, music, dance, architecture, poetry, storytelling, pottery, and sculpture. The desire to create is not limited by beliefs, nationality, creed, educational background, or era. The urge resides in all of us ... [it] is not limited to the arts, but can encompass all of life, from the mundane to the profound.

  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

pres. Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln may seem like a unique board member…and I’d have thought so too…except for the insight I gained from reading Lincoln on Leadership. This book is organized by leadership principles but narrated through examples of Lincoln displaying the individual leadership principles

My biggest take away from the book the idea that Lincoln would sit down and write an unfiltered letter to one of his field generals after a miscue, inaction, or a lost battle and then burn that letter and then write a letter to that same individual, oftentimes conveying the same message, with a far more effect tone than the unfiltered first letter.

Unfiltered writing has a purpose, and there’s power in unrestrained expression oftentimes only as an exercise because clarity and connection will follow the storm

In Closing

Take some time and determine who has/does shape your evolution...Who would be on your own Personal Board of Directors? How have you used their influence to make you a better version of yourself?

What's Next?

Limiting myself to 5 Directors was challenging...I have a number of Influencers who deserve a nod as well. Stay tuned for their introduction in the following posts

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