How CEO’s, Entrepreneurs and Leaders can reach their full potential, end isolation and feel their best.

How CEO’s, Entrepreneurs and Leaders can reach their full potential, end isolation and feel their best.

What happens when your opportunities and challenges surpass your capacity? I faced this dilemma on Father’s Day in 2021. Despite securing millions of dollars from one of the world’s largest venture capital firms, the task of generating millions in revenue with a dispersed team nationwide proved overwhelming. The truth was, I had neglected my holistic well-being and lacked the knowledge of how to nurture it. Reflecting on that period, I wish I had understood the importance of self-care better. That’s why I crafted “My Five” – five critical dimensions of my life that demand attention and leadership for me to operate at my best. I was determined to embark on my career journey and excel, to dream big and set high expectations. However, I acknowledged that without self-care, I risked repeating past pains. Now, let me outline these five essential areas every leader must prioritize to unlock their full potential. Each represents a cornerstone of growth and vitality. Let’s delve into them.

My Identity:

During the German Revolution in 1848, the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach coined his famous phrase, “We are what we eat.” His point was simple: what we consume influences our essence and ultimately reflects who we are. Those who nourish their bodies with the right nutrients tend to exhibit a healthier output and a more positive outlook on life. But what does eating have to do with our identity?
As leaders and entrepreneurs, we find ourselves engulfed in work every morning. From igniting new initiatives to extinguishing crises, our days are a relentless cycle of chaos. The line between where our work ends and we begin becomes increasingly blurred.

Fondr.com articulates this phenomenon well:

“It’s no wonder, then, that entrepreneurs experience high degrees of stress that seem to seep into every molecule in their bodies. The stakes are incredibly high, and deeply personal. They are so personal, in fact, that many company founders inevitably begin seeing their businesses as extensions of themselves. Their identity and sense of self-worth are determined by the company’s milestones and valuation. Corporate success becomes personal vindication; business failure can feel like a kind of death.”

As entrepreneurs and leaders, we often become so immersed in our work that we struggle to distinguish ourselves from it. We become so “tied” to our work that “we are what we do.” In such cases, our true identity becomes “hijacked” by our work, and we lose sight of who we truly are.

Yet, we are not solely defined by what we do; we are far more complex. While we may love our work and feel passionate about expanding our vision and mission, it’s crucial to understand that healthy, enduring leaders have mastered the art of disentangling their identity from their work.

As shared in the Harvard Business Review, psychologists use the term “enmeshment” to describe a situation where the boundaries between individuals and their work become blurred, leading individual identities to diminish in significance. Enmeshment obstructs the development of a stable, independent sense of self.

Achieving personal fulfillment while growing your business hinges on ensuring that your personal identity is not solely rooted in your work, but encompasses a broader understanding of the human being you are. While it’s natural to be deeply engrossed in your work, the key is to avoid becoming enmeshed in it.

Consider the following eight areas where enmeshment affects leaders. How many resonate with you?

  1. Scarce Personal time boundaries
  2. Overwhelming sense of responsibility
  3. Lacking personal privacy
  4. Pressure to live up to personal expectations
  5. Avoiding critical conversations
  6. Lack of strong identity outside of work’
  7. Intertwined personal and professional relationships
  8. Bypassing conflict

My Health:

As a child, there was a restaurant we adored called Healthy Habits. Despite its name, it was more of a mixed bag, offering a buffet-style spread brimming with pizza, french fries, and soft-serve ice cream. It was the quintessential bait-and-switch!

I believe many leaders operate with a similar mentality when it comes to their health. While they may excel in one area of their lives, if we’re honest, they tend to overindulge in others. Leaders who achieve personal fulfillment while growing their businesses have made a conscious decision to establish healthy boundaries, cultivating habits that promote well-being.

While none of the following research findings may be groundbreaking, they are noteworthy:

The National Bureau of Economic Research discovered that CEOs who navigate their companies through downturns experience a decrease in average lifespan by 1.5 years. Research published in the journal Population Health Management indicates that unhealthy eating habits are associated with a 66% increased risk of productivity loss. According to the CEO Health and Wellness Survey: 58.97% were at high risk of cardiac issues. 35.90% had elevated blood pressure. 12.82% were at risk of developing diabetes. 23.08% had elevated blood cholesterol levels. In essence, 69.23% of CEOs were in very poor physical condition. We’ve proven our ability to create businesses, achieve success, and generate chaos and innovative ideas. If we can accomplish these feats, we can certainly cultivate healthy habits. Achieving holistic health entails focusing on core areas of well-being. In fact, research suggests that doing so can lead to a staggering 168% increase in output! Imagine how different life could be if our productivity surged because of our health rather than our relentless drive.

Consider the list below, which demonstrates how much more output you could achieve if you were holistically healthy. Which area do you need to prioritize?

  • Sleep: 30% improvement (HBR)
  • Nutrition: 20% improvement (WHO)
  • Spirituality: 30% improvement (American Psychological Association)
  • Movement: 15% improvement (Journal of Workplace Health Management)
  • Resilience: 20% improvement (Journal of Applied Psychology)
  • Relationships: 27% improvement (Gallup)
  • Environment: 26% improvement in cognitive function (Science Direct)
  • Collectively, a 168% increase in output.

My Circle

Building a trusted circle fulfills a fundamental human desire to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar interests, beliefs, or habits. And let’s face it, as founders, CEOs, and executives, we form a unique circle of our own. We perceive risks, work, and possibilities through a distinct lens that most people can’t relate to, and frankly, most people don’t want to. That’s precisely why we establish CEO LIFE.

Forbes published an article titled “It Is Time We Acknowledged Loneliness In Entrepreneurs And Did Something About It.” We couldn’t agree more. The loneliness and constant juggling of multiple roles that weigh down CEOs and executives are simply unsustainable, particularly in isolation. Yet, that’s precisely what’s happening.

Forbes further highlighted in the Self-Employment Review conducted by Julie Deane, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, isolation emerged as one of the biggest challenges faced by business owners and sole traders.

Why does this matter? With all the formidable challenges we confront as leaders, why should isolation be one of them? According to the Yale School of Medicine, community offers us a myriad of benefits:

Expanding research Enhancing concept validity Developing and evaluating effective live concepts Demonstrating the effectiveness of programs for future funding opportunities Among numerous other advantages.

In recent times, the concept of a “3AM friend” has gained popularity. It turns out there are more than 24 hours in a day, and life presents more problems and challenges than those requiring a friend to show up with a shovel!

CEOs require a tribe to surround them “24 hours” a day. We need individuals who, upon waking, inspire us to be our best selves. Throughout the day, we require companions to bounce quick business ideas off of. After work, we seek individuals to unwind with over a drink or a workout. At night, we turn to trusted confidants to contemplate significant decisions, and of course, we rely on our 3AM friends to stand by us through thick and thin.

CEOs who cultivate trusted relationships are:

Twice as likely to achieve their strategic goals (Center for Creative Leadership). 1.5 times more likely to make better, more informed decisions (McKinsey & Company).

Here’s a breakdown of the types of friends CEOs need:

  • 7 AM Friend (The Motivator): This friend inspires and uplifts, constantly encouraging you to pursue your goals and reach your highest potential.
  • 12 PM Friend (The Advisor): This friend offers wisdom and guidance, providing thoughtful advice and helping you navigate challenges with insightful perspectives and experience.
  • 5 PM Friend (The Adventurer): This friend provides a calming presence, helping you de-stress and find peace through easygoing conversations and laid-back activities.
  • 8 PM Friend (The Processor): This friend thoroughly analyzes situations, offers thoughtful advice, and methodically helps you understand and solve problems with precision.
  • 3 AM Friend (The Defender): This friend stands by your side, fiercely loyal, ready to support and shield you from any challenges or threats.

Which friends do you have and which ones do you need?

My Work

When it comes to work, it’s astounding to consider that we’ll spend over one-third of our lives doing it—more time working than we’ll spend with family, more time working than adventuring, more time working than engaging in any other activity. According to the Harvard Business Review, 94% of professionals work more than 50 hours a week, with almost half of them working more than 65 hours a week. Now, here’s the astonishing part: mental health issues arising from overwork cost the global economy more than one trillion dollars, according to the World Economic Forum.

The reality is, most of us aren’t passionate about the work we do, most of us aren’t connected to it. Can you imagine if we approached the rest of our lives with the same disconnection and lack of passion? So, what does it mean for us to be healthy in our work? What does it take for us to truly thrive?

I recall a story from my college days when one of my roommates’ dads worked as a trader on Wall Street. He shared that during the winter months, he would leave for work in darkness and return home in darkness, only seeing the sun on weekends. When I asked if he enjoyed his job, he laughed and replied, “Are you kidding me, kid? I hate it.”

That day, I made a commitment to myself that whatever I pursued, I would find joy in it, and I would choose to thrive. However, it wasn’t until later that I learned the elements that cultivate joy and enable us to thrive in our work.

Take a look at the list below, as each item represents a component of holistic joy in the work you do. Which ones are you thriving in, and which ones do you need to work on?

  1. JOY: Do you love your labor? 13% (University of Warwick)
  2. BALANCE: Does the quantity align with the quality? 21% (Corporate Executive Board)
  3. GROWTH: Are you growing where you’re going? 14% (Corporate Executive Board)
  4. RELATIONSHIPS: Do you want to be stuck in an airport?14% (Gallup)
  5. VALUES: Are the leading and lagging indicators aligned? 14% (Corporate Executive Board)

The truth is, when you align these elements, you can boost your productivity by 76%. Just imagine how much more you could achieve, how much more you’d accomplish, and how much more excited you’d be to wake up in the morning if you had joy, balance, growth, relationships, and values tied to your business and your work. That’s what we should all strive for, that’s what we should all pursue, because ultimately, allowing ourselves to be more productive in the things we believe in is how we change the world and our lives.

My Mission

Recently, I found myself in the backyard with my two boys, Kruise and Crosby. My youngest launched a football across the lawn, effortlessly swishing it into the basketball net. The ensuing screams of euphoria filled the air, followed by my oldest’s exclamation: “There’s no way you did that on purpose!”

Chuckling to myself, I thought: why do we often dismiss such moments of perfection as accidents or “not on purpose”? Why do we default to phrases like “I just got lucky” or “I don’t deserve it”?

It hit me that the answer might lie within my oldest son’s statement: “there’s no way you did that on purpose!”

For many of us, living life “on purpose” or with a clear mission seems elusive. We often navigate life passively, avoiding risks and clinging to stability, even when our souls and passions remain unfulfilled. According to Gallup, 60% of people reported feeling emotionally detached at work, with 19% describing themselves as miserable.
Mark Twain famously said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

According to the Harvard Business Review, fewer than 20% of leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose.

Discovering your mission is crucial for personal fulfillment and business success, yet it remains elusive for many. Let’s demystify it by examining four categories and determining if we have clear definitions for each:

1. Values and Beliefs: Do you understand your core values and beliefs, which serve as the foundation for your actions and decisions?

2. Strengths and Talents: Are you aware of your unique skills and abilities, enabling you to focus on areas where you can excel and make a significant impact?

3. Passions and Interests: Can you identify what excites and motivates you, helping to pinpoint areas where you feel most engaged and fulfilled?

4. Purpose and Goals: Have you clarified your overarching purpose and set specific, actionable goals that align with your values, passions, and strengths to guide your journey?

At CEO Life, we understand the importance of healthy leaders. Healthy leaders create healthy companies, foster strong families, nurture meaningful friendships, and build vibrant communities. Our mission is to ensure you stay healthy and thrive in every area of your life. We look forward to getting to know you better! To learn more about our membership, click below.

HOW TO GET STARTED

SCHEDULE A CALL

Schedule a call and submit a short form telling us who you are, a little bit about your business, and what brought you to CEO Life.

INTERVIEW

On a video call, we’ll ask you a series of questions to see if you’re a good fit for CEO Life and answer any questions you may have about membership.

APPROVAL

We’ll make a decision on your application on the spot If you’re invited to join, you’ll be given 72 hours to make a Decision.

GROW AND PROSPER

You’ll start your coaching, be introduced to other members, invited to the events, and your life will begin to flourish!

WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOU