You are the CEO of Your Life
In this article, I am going to introduce to you a powerful idea which struck a chord in me when I first heard it; It can help to change your perception of your life and induce you to start taking action on it. I first got this idea when I was listening to the podcast Human Being Inc by Robin Sharma, a self-help guru and author of best seller ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’.
All of us earn a living, in some way or another. We may be employees of a larger company, be it SMEs (small and medium enterprises), MNCs (multi-national corporations) or entrepreneurs running our own business. During our working hours, we serve the vision of our employer or our business. We manage a huge plate of responsibilities, being part of projects, learning best in class strategies and practices, getting training, immersing in the company culture – All to meet the end objective of the company. Some people, the workaholics, devote their whole life to working – even after work and during weekends. Their life is essentially tied to serving their company.
What if - You start viewing our life as your company instead?
Think about it. Your life is your company. You are the CEO of your life.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How are you performing as the CEO of your company? Are you a star performer? Are you leading your life to its highest possible success?
How is your company performing? The status of your company will be akin to your overall status in life. Is it a leader in the market place? Is the business growing year on year? Is the share price increasing and will investors want to invest in it? Or is it struggling to survive? Is it on the verge of crumbling and folding down?
What is the vision and mission statement of your company? The vision of a company enables it to align its resources to a singular direction, like your purpose. Its mission statement is an articulation of the vision in more specific terms, such as your life goals. What is the overarching purpose of your life? Have you discovered your purpose? What are your life goals? Have you identified them? Without clarity on these, everything in your life is randomly scattered and not optimized toward a common direction. There will be no singular focus at all.
What are your company’s long term and short term goals? Companies have 10 year goals which are subsequently broken down into 5, 3, 1 year goals. The 1-year goal is then further broken down into bi-annual, quarter and monthly milestones. What are the 10-year goals of your life? Are they identified and put down into writing? Are they broken down into smaller milestones?
How are your different departments doing? Every company has a series of departments, such as Marketing, Finance, Product Supply, Research & Development, Market Research, etc. Within those departments, there will be its own set of sub-divisions. Look at the departments and sub-divisions of your life – Health (Diet, Fitness), Relationships (Social, Love, Family), Career, Wealth, Spirituality, etc. What are the statuses of those departments and sub-divisions in your life?
Many people fall into the trap of overly focusing in the department of career and wealth, but neglect all the rest. They do not realize that all the departments need to be performing at the peak to lead to your best life. Companies have separate departments to serve a specific function; Without the investment of resources, the departments cannot perform their job well. Have you seen companies which scrimp on marketing budgets, only to have the campaigns fail because of lack of awareness? Or companies that neglect their human resources and welfare, only to lead to a high turnover rate due to disgruntlements among employees? Likewise, you cannot neglect your health and relationships and expect your life to be soaring. These departments in your life exist for a reason to serve its particular unique function, which ladder up to your company’s performance. If you neglect your health department, a series of health issues will arise later which affects your larger life. If you neglect your relationships department, the bonds of your friendships will start weakening and friends will start drifting away. Are you neglecting certain departments in your life?
What is your organizational culture? Companies have its own set of organizational culture, values and principles which defines how it is run and how its employees behave. The equivalent of the organizational culture in our life will be our personality, our values systems, our beliefs. What are the core traits which define you and your being? What are your values and principles in life? What is the moral code you abide by? What are your beliefs in your life? Whether we are aware of it or not, these influence our everyday action and thinking.
What about the processes in your company? Depending on the size of the company, it will have varying levels and complexities in processes. A small company typically has few processes in place; a large conglomerate has a multitude of structured processes it runs by. The processes would include annual/bi-annual/quarterly reviews, monthly team discussions, weekly updates, etc.
Processes are like routines or habits and practices in our life. What routines do you have in place? Do you wake up early and sleep early everyday? Do you have a daily or weekly exercise schedule? Do you have time set aside for social relationships every week? Do you have monthly reviews to see how your life is tracking to? How are your routines or lack of routines contributing to the performance of your life? What are the detrimental habits and practices you should be doing away with? Is there opportunity to institute new practices to improve your life?
Are you investing in best in class training for your company? Successful companies spend a lot of money hiring consultants and trainers to give formal training courses. There are also informal trainings that take place, via day-to-day on the job learning. Are you constantly acquiring new knowledge and information via resources such as books, websites, podcasts, etc? Are you getting in the act and putting yourself in different contexts to learn and grow? Some people may be very knowledgeable in a certain department such as how to build a successful career, but they are clueless when it comes to other areas of their life. Do you know what it takes to lead your life to success and abundance? Do you know what is needed to keep your health in top condition? Do you know what it takes to be a good partner and friend? Are you aware of what is needed to build a conducive family environment?
At the end of the day, your career is only one aspect of your life. It is only one department of your whole company. As the CEO of your company, you need to ensure everything is in place to ensure the peak performance and success, instead of just focusing on a small aspect. Many people fail to see that. They devote their whole lives to their work and turn into workaholics, neglecting the other parts of their life in the process. They do not view their life in the way they should – holistically, rather than one small segment.
In my previous job in brand management, I would see people dedicating so much of their time and energy to improving the business everyday, including myself. I saw directors and vice presidents who were so exceptional at their work. I wondered – What if their life is their company then? How would they run it? What if we were to apply all these world-class practices, rigor, standards to all our own lives? Without a question of doubt, the quality of our lives will soar dramatically. We will be truly getting the best out of our lives, instead of living it in a suboptimal manner.
When I first applied this concept to my life nearly 2 years ago, I realized that while I may had certain elements of a good company in place, my company was actually in a rocky position. There were several glaring areas that needed addressing and resolution right away to ensure long term growth and success.
For example, even though I had my vision (purpose) defined, my mission statement (life goals) and specific 10, 5, 3, 1 year goals for my life were not all that clear. I had some idea of my organizational culture (self-awareness, personality), but it was fuzzy – I realized there were still many blind spots I had which I was not aware of. I realized even though I was thriving in my career department and doing ‘not bad’ in my social department, the other areas in my life were sorely neglected. For example, Health – I was constantly putting off sleep in favor of my work. My diet was okay but not the healthiest. I was not exercising as much as I should. Family – My relationships with my parents and brother had waned since I was a teenager, and it had been that way ever since. Love – I was not seeing anyone and there was no one in particular I was attracted to. Process-wise, the processes (habits, routines) in my life were not in place – I was largely a disorganized person.
All in all, I was performing very well as an employee in my work, but as the CEO of my life? Not that well. The idea of being the CEO really made me think more holistically. I made me see my life for what it is, and not just narrowed down to one or two areas, such as Career or Relationships. It made me realize that it was up to me to lead my whole life to my vision. It made me step up to be a real personal leader and start truly leading my life the way it should be led. As the CEO, I want my company to be the best it can ever be – because it deserves nothing less.
And this goes the same for you as well. As your CEO, you want your company to soar to roaring heights. As your CEO, you have the ability to do whatever it takes to turn your company around, no matter what state it is in. As your CEO, only you have power to lead it to success.
Look at your life today and start applying this concept to yourself. How is your company performing? What are your visions and goals for your company? Are you leading your company to become the best it can be? What should you start doing today to bring your company to its top level success? Are you being the best CEO you can be?
« Put First Things First
Self-Discipline is Overrated »