You are the CEO of Your Life
In this article, I am going to introduce to you a powerful idea that struck a chord in me when I first heard it. It can change your perception of your life and get you to take action. I first got this idea when listening to a podcast by Robin Sharma, a self-help guru and author of the bestseller The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
All of us earn a living in one way or another. We may be employees of a large company or entrepreneurs running our own business. During our work hours, we serve the vision of our employer or our business. We manage a huge plate of responsibilities, learn the best strategies and practices, receive training, and immerse in the company culture – all to meet the end objectives of the company. Some people, the workaholics, devote their entire life to their work – even after official work hours and during weekends. Their life is essentially tied to serving their company.
What if – you start viewing our life as your company?
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 success?
How is your company performing? Here, the status of your company is analogous to your overall status in life. How are you doing in your life? Is it improving year on year? Or is it not doing so well?
What is the vision and mission of your company? The mission is your purpose. The vision refers to your life goals. What is your overarching purpose in life? What are your life goals? Without clarity on these, everything in life is randomly scattered and not optimized to a common direction. There is no singular focus at all.
What are your company’s long-term and short-term goals? Companies have 1-year goals which are subsequently broken down into 5-, 3-, 1-year goals. The 1-year goals are then broken down into quarterly and monthly milestones. What are your 10-year goals? How about your smaller goals?
How are your different departments doing? Every company has departments, such as Marketing, Finance, Product Supply, etc. Look at the departments of your life, i.e., the areas on your life wheel – Health, Relationships, Career, Wealth, Spirituality, etc. What are the statuses of these departments?
Many people fall into the trap of overly focusing on the department of Career and Wealth, but neglect the rest. They do not realize that all the departments need to perform at the peak to lead to your best life.
Have you seen companies which scrimp on marketing budgets, only to have their product fail because of lack of consumer awareness? Or companies that neglect their employee wealth, only to lead to a high turnover rate due to disgruntlement among employees?
Likewise, you cannot neglect your Health or Relationships and expect your life to soar. The departments in your life exist to serve a particular function, which contribute to your life success. If you neglect your Health department, a series of health issues will arise later which affects your 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? What can you do about them?
What is your organizational culture? Companies have its own organizational culture and values which define how it is run and how its employees behave. The equivalent of the organizational culture in our life will be our personality, values, and beliefs. What are your core traits that define you and your being? What are your values? What is the moral code you abide by? What are your beliefs? Are they positive or negative? Whether you are aware of them or not, these influence your everyday thinking and action.
What about the processes in your company? Depending on the company size, it will have varying complexities in its processes. A small company typically has few processes in place; a large conglomerate has a multitude of structured processes that it runs by. The processes would include quarterly/annual reviews, monthly team discussions, weekly updates, etc.
Processes are like habits and practices in our life. What routines do you have in place? Do you wake up early and sleep early each day? Do you have an exercise schedule? Do you have time set aside for relationships each week? How are your routines contributing to your life? What are the detrimental habits you should remove?
Are you investing in the best 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, via day-to-day on the job learning. Are you constantly acquiring new knowledge via resources like books, websites, podcasts? Are you taking action and putting yourself in different contexts to learn and grow?
Some people may be very knowledgeable in a certain department like Career, but they are clueless when it comes to other areas like Relationships and Health. Do you know what it takes to lead your life to success and abundance? Do you know how 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, remember that 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 for peak success, instead of focusing on a small aspect. Many people fail to see that. They devote their whole life to 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 saw people dedicate so much of their time and energy to improving their business every day, including myself. I saw directors and vice presidents who were exceptional at their work. I wondered, What if their life is their company? How would they run it? What if we were to apply all these world-class practices and rigor to our own lives? Without a question of doubt, the quality of our lives would soar dramatically.
Applying the Concept to My Life
When I first applied this concept to my life 2 years ago, I realized that while I had certain elements of a good company in place, my company/life was in a rocky position. There were several glaring areas that needed addressing right away to ensure long-term growth and success.
For example, even though I had defined my mission (purpose), my 10-, 5-, 3-, 1-year goals were not all that clear. I had some idea of my organizational culture (personality, values), but it was fuzzy – I realized that I had many blind spots which I was not aware of. I realized even though I was thriving in my Career and doing “not bad” in my Social/Relationships, my other areas were sorely neglected. For example, Health – I was constantly putting off sleep in favor of work. My diet was okay but not the healthiest. I was not exercising as much as I should. Family – my relationship with my parents had waned since I was a teen, and it had been that way ever since. Love – I was not seeing anyone and there was no one I was attracted to. Process-wise, the habits in my life were not in place – I was a largely 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 of my life 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, like Career or Relationships. It made me realize that it was up to me to lead my life to my vision. It made me step up to be a real personal leader and start leading my life the way it should be led. As the CEO, I want my company to be the best it can be – because it deserves nothing less.
And this is the same for you. As the CEO, you want your company to soar to roaring heights. As the CEO, you have the power to turn your company around, no matter what state it is in. As the CEO, only you have leadership and power to lead it to success.
Look at your life today and apply this concept to yourself. How is your company performing? What are your vision and goals for your company? Are you leading your company to be the best it can be? What should you start doing today to bring your company to its top success? Are you the best CEO you can be?