Who is in Your Kitchen Cabinet?

Jean Cecil Frick • February 10, 2023

I’ve long been an avid reader of presidential history. One of my favorite historians, Doris Kearns Goodwin, wrote a book about Abraham Lincoln titled, “Team of Rivals”.  Throughout the book, Goodwin dives into how President Lincoln filled his Cabinet with former foes in order to ensure he had every perspective at the table.

This idea made an impression on me to always consider who you surround yourself with in order to get perspective and insights. Now most of us don’t get to organize an official cabinet, but we do get to create what is often referred to as a “kitchen cabinet”—a group of trusted friends and associates. Those in my kitchen cabinet don’t even know I consider them as such, but they’re a group of people I have met along the way in both my personal and professional life and I value their opinion.

Your kitchen cabinet should be made up of a handful of people you can call on at any time to get advice. They can be personal friends or professional colleagues and if you’re lucky, your kitchen cabinet includes people whose strengths play to your weaknesses and challenge you to think bigger and bolder while being true to yourself.

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have a kitchen cabinet whom I can rely on to bounce ideas off of and get varying viewpoints. They have guided and encouraged me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. At times, they offered a new perspective and changed my outlook on certain issues and ideas. 

With each advancement in my career, the individuals in my kitchen cabinet have shifted a bit as I’ve lived in different cities and held different jobs. But the lessons I learned from them have always stayed with me. A former boss used to always say she surrounded herself with people smarter than her. Turns out, she was the smart one to recognize her own shortfalls and make sure she built a strong team who would complement her strengths and weaknesses and ultimately work well together.

I challenge you to consider who is in your kitchen cabinet. If you identify a missing piece, make this the year you surround yourself with people who make you the best you can be.  

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