CEOs — Stop the Self Flagellation

Big Red Car here.  Going to be 94F in the ATX today.  The first hot day is never a problem as you welcome the heat.  The Boss will be swimming today.  And why the Hell not?

So The Boss was looking through some Moleskine notebooks.  He keeps such a notebook for each and every one of his brilliant CEO clients.  He made some observations.

Here are those notebooks.   See if you can see yours.  Maybe you need one.

Startup and SMB CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs have a tendency, a marked tendency, to be way too tough on themselves.  It is a common trait.  I am not willing to say it is a flaw.  I am willing to say it is not productive.

This manifests itself in CEOs, et al, constantly taking themselves to task for things undone, skills not in evidence and bouts of envy.

Here are some truths:

1.  You will never, ever get everything on your To Do List done.  It lives and breathes and grows by itself.  It is like rabbits, rats and roaches–it multiplies beyond your ability to exterminate them.

2.  You will never get to In Box Zero until your hear the dirt hitting the outside of your coffin and then it is too late.

3.  You will never master everything you need to know.  After a couple of decades of CEOing, you will have almost all of it and then they will invent something that will undo what you have learned and you will have to learn some new skills.

4.  There will always be someone who is smarter, keener or more clever; and, whose path to the pay window will be shorter, swifter and more glorious.  [It will not be the guy from Tesla, Elon Musk.  He will be lost in space by that time.]

So, OK, Big Red Car — what do we do?

You soldier on.  You do your best.  You get rid of the whip and you turn your whip hand to doing the best you can.

You stop wasting energy on self flagellation.

You do stuff in stolen minutes which accumulate like bricks going uncomplainingly singly and by twos into a brick wall that you cannot remember how it got finished.

You finish stuff.

You stop procrastinating about committing your Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values and Culture to writing.  You experience the liberation of getting that done.

The most important thing is you do as much as you can and then you go home and greet the dog, kiss your wife, hug your kids and relax comfortable in the knowledge the Big Red Car has given you express permission to be normal — not for all day, just for a few hours.  Tomorrow, you go back to being an entrepreneur with an unquenchable thirst to change the world but for the rest of the day — normal.

[Pro tip:  If you take every Friday off for the rest of your life, you will accomplish the exactly same amount of work but you will have a richer life.]

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway?  I’m just a Big Red Car.  Need some help?  Contact The Boss.



4 thoughts on “CEOs — Stop the Self Flagellation

  1. Great post BRC. I’m my own worst critic and I’ve got to remind myself of that. It’s amazing what happens when you give yourself a little room. BTW – love the new UI hacks on the blog – the ‘menu’ and the ‘previous’/’next’ work really well.

    • .
      Screw The Boss, the Big Red Car is in the driver’s seat here, baby.

      The available time expands and contracts to encompass the work.


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