Lifeline Relationships – Creating Your Personal Board of Directors

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Keith Ferrazzi author of Never Eat Alone and his most recent book, Who’s Got Your Back.

Ferrazzi believes leadership, at its essence, is a spiritual journey- it takes courage, motivation, discipline, and commitment. Strongly grounded in many years of Vipassana practice, Ferazzi weaves his spiritual practice into his leadership style, sharing life-changing strategies for anyone committed to building a lifeline team.

To continue to be the best we can be, I believe it’s vitally important, especially in these times, to create our own Personal Board of Directors- a small committed group who are not going to let each other fail, ever!


According to Ferrazzi, successful networking (our abilities to “connect”) is not about the size of our “Rolodex”. Rather success is more readily available to those who can pick up the phone and say, ” I need help”.

Particularly in these times, Ferazzi encourages us to focus on *Relationship Capital* by building a Personal Board of Directors or what he calls *Lifeline Relationships*- the ones that help us rebuild TRUST in a world of fear and greed.


* Identify 3 people you know who can change your life.

* Call them and share this idea about LifeLine Relationships. Ask them if they will be on board with you.

* Lifeline Relationships lead with generosity. Who bends over backward for you? Who do you bend over backward for?

* Lifeline Relationships are transparent: Who can you let your guard down with and have it be okay?

* Lifeline Relationships hold each other accountable. Who can kick you in the butt when necessary? Which of your peers can you depend upon, to TELL the TRUTH, and help you face the brutal facts

* Lifeline relationships agree to forgive in advance when we slip up. Sparring is okay (even encouraged!).

* Lifeline relationships have a RELATIONSHIP ACTION PLAN. (R.A.P.) which is rigorous, routine, strategic, and systematic.

Your Personal Board of Directors can come in many forms: Mastermind Groups, Learning or Coaching Communities, Wisdom Councils, Women’s or Men’s circles, or Spiritual Communities.

Rather than changing who we are, enlist others to help us become the best we can be. This is where the true strength of any team, organization, or initiative lies. For more information on Ferrazzi’s model, check out GreenLight Community.

How many of you have this lifeline team in place? I’ve had several “lifeline” teams over the years (workgroups, learning communities, friends, spiritual sanghas, performance groups) that were extremely beneficial for their duration.

And now, I am looking at creating the strongest, most sustainable one yet! Will you help me?

I am eager to partner with an organizational leadership team that needs a powerful provocateur, collaborator, and communications maven/ director to weave it all together: vision, strategy, marketing, communications, engagement, and human capital. Let’s start the conversation!

Sheryl R. Sever (Shera) is an organizational learning consultant and business coach. A passionate, small business advocate, she writes and speaks regularly on business development, career transition, leadership, change, and innovation in the workplace.

Shera has been developing and leading communications and leadership seminars and workshops for over 15 years and has trained and coached corporate, educational, and organizational leaders and solo professionals from over 40 countries on 4 different continents.

She has served on the faculty of the Creative Work/Life Transitions Program at San Francisco State University and as a Life Directions Coach with Peak Potentials Training. In collaboration with the Jewish Vocational Services in San Francisco, her Career Development Training for Employment Specialists won a national award for “Most Innovative Curriculum”. She currently is the Business Trainer for C.E.O. Women’s Entrepreneurship award-winning training program for immigrant and refugee women.


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