Rafael C. Santos left this really excellent comment on "Whose on Your War Counsel?" -
This is very interesting to me. I also like to have counselers around me, specially now I am building my start-up (as a lone founder) and I also have a diverse set of goals, ideas and interests. A big coincidence is that I would have pretty much the same counsels as you, even the martial arts counsel, as I am also a fighter. Anyway, a few thoughts though:
1) I cannot imagine having a person that wouldn’t be at least in 2 or 3 counsels, because most of my problems involves multiple subjects at the same time;
2) Sometimes you cannot discuss individually with a counseler, you need others involved, and it is very hard to engage different people in the same discussion, specially if a counseler doesn’t know the other, being this relevant when the discussion involves multiple areas. It is even harder as some people use phones, others use email and others just visiting them, in order to comunicate;
3) Sometimes I just need someone to chat about random thoughts and ideas, but most people I know tend to not talk much when I share with them. This happens because usually the idea is too broad and involve other areas that aren’t of their expertise, and then their insecurity blocks them, failing to share any thoughts or ideas that might give me insights, new ideas or an improved one. This is also a very high blocking wall when I am trying to keep these close people updated in my projects, usually they tend to lose interest.
4) Though the internet is a good place to find people with the same interests and potential counselers, it is also harder to get their attention to even read your thoughts and ideas. It takes lots of time to build a relationship and the trust needed through it.
Still, I am trying to find solutions to these issues. One success I had is that counseling others is a good way to get future counselers. That is particularly easier through the internet, as things like age, social class and others tend to not matter in a discussion.
This mirrors my thoughts quite a bit - it's still something I think about, am working to refine. I'm not so precise with it... I think that's a misconception a lot of people have, when they read about someone's planning or goals or tracking - often it's kind of messy. Usually it's a work in progress. I thought this comment by Rafael captured the essence of trying to put together a counsel well. Cheers, Rafael.
Wow, thank you Sebastian for reposting it here! I got surprised =)
I've been thinking on how technology might help us manage these kind of counsels, and this presentation on social networks inspired me: http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-network-v2
Maybe in a close future we might be able to use some social network (who knows Diaspora or Appleseed Project) with those features (basicaly, intimacy management tools) that might make the job of maintaining such counsels much easier than it is today. Perhaps that is also something we should keep in mind when building a counsel as well =)
About three years ago, I read the excellent book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. At that time, I made a list of the top 5-10 people in my life that I was to and had similar goals with. I sent out emails to them every once a month with what I was working on.
Eventually, I fell off from this habit. Not sure why - I'd had gotten good advice, stayed in touch with people I like, and it was a positive experience. I started re-thinking building my counsel a little over a year ago.
The challenge is, I've got a diverse set of goals and ideas. I write, I do business, I travel, I create art, I adventure, I'm looking to establish a strong family, and so on. I have friends who are writers or artists that aren't interested in business. I've got friends in business that pretty much always stick to their one city. I know guys who are pretty simple, work a normal job, don't make any art or do any entrepreneurship, but have very strong and good families. I know very successful businessmen who travel and adventure, but aren't interested in having kids.
So I was thinking - how do I balance this all on my counsel?
And eventually, the idea hits me. I need multiple, relevant counsels.
Watch out: I use "I" 54 times in this post, so this will be boring if you, like me, aren't interested in hearing me talk about myself.
When I was in high school, I was so shy that I couldn't talk to almost anyone outside my family. Through a last-ditch effort when I went to college, I got better. I then got lucky and succeeded at a lot of things I tried after that, which rescued my general confidence, and I did some focused practice, rejection therapy, public speaking, and Beeminding to fix my social confidence.
But even though I'm no longer afraid to try, that doesn't mean that I can do it well. I still feel that I'm not usually a good conversationalist. I haven't had enough practice, especially since I have always spent most of my working time hacking in my lair instead of working socially. I started to practice things like this after the CFAR workshop in March, but put it on hold after getting married when I hurt my feet.
I'm finally recovered and can go outdoors again, so I spent this week practicing: three days of the hallway track at some conferences (plus moderating a discussion), two group classes, a social lunch, a party, hosting my cofounders for hacking, and a few video calls. I'm not completely socially exhausted--yeah, I threw the "introvert" label out of my identity a while ago--but I'm also not going to the second party tonight.
How did it go? I was trying to practice three things: