Are you stressed out with your partner, finances, parents, decisions or work? How about children, neighbors, a supplier or co-worker, or your health? Have they even bunched up on you? Sometimes it’s not easy to admit that your circumstances and how you have managed them (or not) have conspired to frustrate the hell out of you, maybe even drive you to dis-ease and depression. Here is a highly successful process I’ve used to free others up while remaining responsible.
Whether we realize it or not, we are either part of a team in some extended manner, or a relationship. It’s extremely difficult to be in a healthy relationship or a member of a functioning team (whatever role you have) if you are not healthily independent first yourself. A healthy independence at some level is essential as your primary defense against stress. It is critical to your physical and mental health.
Once I had a CEO share with me that they were in the midst of a crucial Board of Directors Meeting. He had managed his company and this sort of a meeting as a democracy listening to everything and everybody, but realized this and began to correct himself by saying “No,” but that was very difficult. Within ninety minutes the Vice President of Drama exclaimed, “You’re the CEO, but you can’t handle this. You crumbling and losing control. You’re buckling!” The CEO exclaimed out of character, “Shut up. I’m taking a nap.” He left the meeting, went to his office and took a 20-minute nap. He then came back and concluded the meeting in a successful business-like manner. He felt great and apparently so did everyone else, as they never challenged him that way again.
As a former CEO, there have been times when I wish I employed that same tactic – of pausing, resting, and regaining control. We can all do this and need to periodically do so in our lives. The following exercise is to literally become the CEO of your life and here’s a quick outline of how.
YOU are the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and your life is your company. In this role, you have the responsibility to answer for yourself the following ten questions. First call together a meeting of your Board of Directors and staff where you set the agenda. Yes, the VP of Popularity, the VP of Guilt, VP of Pleasing, Health, Success, and Finances, etc. are all there, but YOU set the agenda. (These are all aspects of your life that are important and affect you.)
1. Determine your mission statement. In a sentence, determine who you are? What is your primary mission in life? What factors would determine your corporation’s success?
2. What does your primary corporation do? What is your vocation? By answering this, you can establish what your primary tasks are. These may change in time, but how about now?
3. What are your policies and procedures? What are the underlying beliefs as well as the values and strategies you’ve been employing? As the CEO you have immediate and full authority to make any changes you want at any time. Sound empowering? Actually, you are the very one who has been the CEO of your corporation (life) so now is the time to step forward and acknowledge that. And if your Vice Presidents balk at this, acknowledge and thank them, but remind them that your life is no democracy and you are its architect. And if you inherited your mission statement and values from someone else, remind yourself that this is now your company and not theirs.
4. What are your priorities? As a consultant, I will encourage you to first consider yourself – self-actualization and your basic human needs. Remember, this is not managing other’s corporations or bailing out anyone else – getting your house in order first is the main order of the day. Is your corporation a love-based or fear-based one? What would I as an external consultant observe? Are you based more on competition or conversely collaboration, communication, and collaboration? Do you innovate and actually act upon your innovations (thought vs. action).
5. What are your corporation’s internal and external resources? What inner resources have you already developed and what might you improve upon. Who might help you? Are you already getting the results you want from your external resources? If not, are there other methods or strategies you might try? Are you forever in the planning processes and never get into the market?
6. Who are your trusted advisors? Do you lean toward your heart and your gut or is it your head. Organizational development experts like myself will caution you to be aware of your head, because it is in partnership with your ego and will often lie to you and create battles even when there are really none.
7. Is there a good quality control as to who is hired (who you associate with) and what resources come into your corporation? Is the a spirit of health and cooperation within your corporation or are people sick and busy fighting one another? In your life this may equate to exercise, diet, sleep, prayer, love, and forgiveness.
8. Make a list of the shareholders in your corporation. These are the people who have an ownership stake in your life and may have a vote. Place a value on their ownership. If you have a partner or family, parents or boss, they may get more votes than a well-intentioned friend or neighbor.
9. What do you sell your share of your corporation for? Do you sell them for approval, for love, for pleasure, or for money? Do you sell them for sex, alcohol, drugs, anger, hate, fear or some non-operating addiction? Are you open and willing to look at other options?
10. Can you buy your shares of your corporation back and would you? Successful corporations who like their prospects will often buy their shares back because they have an “insider’s view” and feel their share’s value is under-valued. I like this strategy as it dilutes my value less and provides me more control. For example, if you believe you given away too much control to someone or you’ve let them cross your boundaries, maybe it’s time to quickly and quietly buy back their shares and regain control of your corporation. In life you don’t even have to announce it, you just do it!
Now this meeting will not be your last one. They need not be lengthy. Whether you schedule a daily meditation or quiet time, you as the CEO intuitively know when to pause and check so don’t ignore your body’s signals nor your intuition.
In this way, just as a good CEO organizes and captains his organization’s success, so too should you. Once you have stopped to assess and gain some semblance of organization, those other worldly forces won’t have their same negative impact for you’ll be stronger and centered – living an awarely delicious life and capitalizing upon your assets!