By TAIIA SMART YOUNG
After reading Jessica Hagy’s dope post on forbes.com about “The Six People You Need In Your Corner,” I was immediately hooked on this idea that none of us survive our big, fat juicy mistakes and get to Awesomeville without a ride-or-die crew.
The fake ones wanna be down after you become successful. The real ones—as our auntie Oprah Winfrey said—will ride the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
Inspired by Jessica’s list, I’ve whipped up a remix called the Fave Five. In business, the FF or Six People are considered your board of directors. They’re a body of elected/ appointed folks that collectively oversee a company or organization so that things don’t fall apart.
You have questions and they have answers. You have problems and they have solutions.
This group of gals and guys isn’t comprised of your besties. You need folks who are who’ve lived a little, been tossed around by life, failed and succeeded and bought the T-shirt.
At least one of them has earned a reserved spot in the limo when you go big time. And because she’s patient, believes in you, and understands that the universe won’t be rushed, she carries bus fare for the both of you—just in case it takes three years vs. three months for your Big Idea to pop off.
Where do you find these special people for your list? They’re right in front of you, being underutilized. They know your goals, know where you’re headed, and can motivate you to keep on moving. They’re adult friends and family who fit into the go-getta column. So your ol’ camp counselor who started a nonprofit to empower teen boys qualifies, as does your aunt who hosts cool events like swimming in the San Francisco Bay to raise money for her favorite charity.
Let me introduce you to your Fave Five.
Code Name: The Social Butterfly
Specialty: Making Introductions
She’s mixxy, attending everything from a Detroit Lions football game to a museum opening to an exclusive Sunday brunch with members of the city council. The Social Butterfly air-kisses the cheeks of royalty, but more important, she’s friendly with the gatekeepers too. This means she can get your résumé to the right people for that important first internship, or even set up a time for you to shadow a power player.
Code Name: The Deadline Diva
Specialty: Tough-Love Reminders
This one lives by her calendar and is all about sending reminders so that there aren’t any excuses, only results. If your application to a summer arts program is due in two weeks, expect The Deadline Diva to call five days early to hit send on the electronic form. She’s constantly checking in—which can be annoying—but it’s all out of love, because she understands that time is an undervalued commodity.
Code Name: The Coach
Specialty: Focused On Solutions
She has the popcorn and juice ready for a strategy session to launch your graphic design business. The Coach listens intently to uncover holes in your blueprint and pushes you to find solutions. For example, if your current computer is on life support, she’ll ask: when can you get a new one, and do your parents have the funds to buy it? Can you offer to pay half of the bill with that birthday stash tucked away in your dresser? Don’t think about wasting her time, either. Come prepared with a list of questions and be ready to execute at least two of her suggestions.
Code Name: The Treasurer
Specialty: Investing Time And Money
Sometimes it comes down to needing a few extra dollars for that senior trip, or additional cash to buy supplies for your budding cupcake business when unexpected orders roll in. She understands that eight dozen sweet treats for a kids’ birthday party is a good problem. No matter what, The Treasurer, who saves more than she spends, admires your hustle and considers you a worthwhile investment.
Code Name: The Seer
Specialty: Enhanced Vision
She doesn’t possess a crystal ball, a third eye, or tarot cards, but she’s definitely all knowing. The Seer is a fan, but she isn’t about blind worship. She knows that you’re capable of organizing and raising serious cash at the basketball fund-raiser, so her advice is useful and practical. She also zooms in on the details, like reminding you to ask parents to sign photo and video release forms for their kids before game day.
Now it’s your turn. Decide how to fill up your Fave Five draft card. Which adults can share information, help make a connection, hold you accountable, and support your goals? Make a list. Then edit it down to the core group that you can really depend on when it’s crunch time.
Excerpted from Famous! How to Be the Star of Your Show: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Embracing Her Fabulous Self, by Taiia Smart Young. It’s available via Amazon.