Successful CEO… what's next? | [Bob K]
Hello Conor, The question that I am currently facing in my life is: Where do I turn now? I am part of a relatively successful family business with my 2 brothers. I love to work with my hands (though I have a young family) who rely on me for their livelihood. I do it for them, but I loath to come to work and can get nothing done – I have lost my ‘punch’ to push on and get results no matter what the personal cost. People are jealous of my success, yet I am not enjoying it. This is my 4th day back from Christmas break, much of which I spent worrying about my work rather than relaxing, and I’m stuck! Where do I start?
Thank you Bob.
It has taken me some time to begin to answer this question, because for much of january 2020, I have felt some very similar emotions regarding my work. Since I was feeling that I was in a similar boat, I didn’t feel that I had any credibility to try to answer your question.
Some of my reflections…
- One hour a day… we all have the discretionary use of one hour each day
- My current mental state affects my whole life outlook (memories, today and future)
- I have to look at each project with the appropriate time frame – todays habits do not generate today’s results… my results of today are generated by past habits.
One hour a day… don’t throw it all away in search of fulfilment.
Often when I feel crap, I want to change everything in one big massive gesture. Then, when I feel good, I realise that I have the tools and resources to begin. So… begin.
You love to work with your hands. Start. One hour a day.
Carl Jung built his own house. He felt a steady loss of meaning from his psychological studies (as his success grew). He bought some land near a lake and over the rest of his life he used his hands each day to build the house. He started in 1922 and continued building for over 40 years… until 1965. (Here’s the house he built Bollingen Tower, on the outskirts of Zurich). He continued his work on psychology, but realised that he had a physical, emotional need to do this work with his hands. He found a path back to meaning in his work through this building with his own hands.
I note that as work became less of a struggle for Jung, he found it less meaningful (gross overgeneralisation, but I’m going with it). It is similar for me. 2019 was a great year for me by all measures of financial and fame indicators. Maybe outward success does lead to loss of sense of purpose… and a new struggle needs to be found.
I want to get back some of my old hobbies into my life. Windsurfing was a big thing for me in my 20’s… but completely abandoned for the last 20 years. That sport is a constant learning process 😉
I am not rational… I am a brain floating in a sea of emotional neurotransmitters… that shape how I remember, how I feel, how confident I am about the future.
I went to the gym yesterday. First time in 3 weeks, as I had a chest infection that left me very tired with an annoying cough that would start if I did exercise (or went outside into colder air, or spoke too much…). As I sat in the changing rooms after 45 minutes of aerobic exercise (low intensity – on the cross country ski machine) everything appeared brighter. It struck me how much my current physical, physiological state – endorphins and serotonin running around my brain… made an impact on how I felt about myself, my plans, future projects.
I didn’t publish any youtube video last week – and not for lack of creating them… I spent 3 hours filming various ideas from what it takes to succeed as a CEO, CEO major decisions in 2020, the difference between visualisation (productive) and fantasy (empty), how to determine if an idea is a good idea… but every time I completed the video I felt that it was poor, preachy, jumbled and crap. As I sat in the changing room in the gym yesterday and reflected on the ideas that I had put into the videos, they felt like good ideas again. Lesson for myself- be very careful about what mental state I am in when I am making judgments about the quality of my work, the feasibility of my projects, the importance of my business and teaching.
Be careful about Timeframes
Another lesson that comes from the past is that life is like stock market investing… if you look at the price changes every day of a really good stock investment – on 50.1% of the time you will be happy and on 49.9% of the days you will be depressed. This is not the time frame on which I should allow myself to make stock investment decisions (I am not a day trader…). My friend and investment fund manager tells me that you should not look at investments daily… more like once a year and decide on asset allocation first (based on life priorities over the next year or two), and don’t “react” to stock prices.
There is a saying “when you fall, don’t look at where you landed; look at where you slipped”. It is easy to look at where you have fallen and seek to find the ingredients of my disaster here… but they are not here… they are somewhere the past when I hit a banana skin and started to lose my balance.
PS This answer is probably 98% for myself… and how to get myself back and engaged in work as 2020 and a new decade begins.
Keep on asking the questions…