For those of you that know me in person, most of you know the various turmoils I’ve gone through during 2017. There is so much I would like to write about, but due to various reasons, I can’t (or don’t want to) write about. Instead of dwelling about what I can’t (or won’t) write about – I would like to write about my own personal process of growth.
Being an entrepreneur is very challenging – everyone will tell you that. If you would ask various entrepreneurs what are their challenges, most of them would indicate one of the following:
- Raising funds for my venture
- Defining the product
- Building a strategy
- Hiring the right people
- Dealing with customers
- Dealing with employees
- Dealing with investors
- Dealing with Banks
Then if you ask most of them what is the thing they need help with, they will most probably answer: “Oh, I already have people working on all of these – they’re covered”. The thing is, that most entrepreneurs won’t admit, or purely are afraid to admit – the only thing the challenges them truly is: LONELINESS. It never quite hit me, at least as hard as it did during 2017, how lonely is the seat of the CEO.
If you ask my dad how hard the role of the CEO is, he will comment: “It’s not hard, you get the deals, other people do the work and you collect the cash.” – and that is soooooooo wrong. Most CEO’s are alone. Alone with their decisions, alone with their achievements, alone with their failures, alone with their mistakes and alone with their guilt. As CEO’s we are always examined, by our employees, by our customers, by our partners, by the market – if in some manner it is capable of thought or perception, you are being examined, judged and executed according to it. You can be perfect at everything, mess up one little thing – and from that moment you are cursed (at least by one of them) – or if you’re in Hollywood, you’re toxic.
Regardless of what you believe, there are things CEOs can’t talk about with other people. Things that CEOs can talk to other CEOs only – why? because no one other than another CEO will understand these. A CEO may be tackling financial issues, business issues, operational issues or any other type of issue – he is always the CEO, for good and for bad.
Since July 2015 I’ve been undergoing a personal coaching process. For some it would seem really odd that a CEO may need coaching, specifically when that CEO provides mentorship to other start-ups. However, allow me to say the following, every CEO, and I do mean EVERY CEO, needs a personal coach to work them. The coach doesn’t tell you what to do, he simply provides another level of external reflection on your actions and thoughts, kind of like an alter-ego that may sometimes say: “You know, that’s a good idea, have your considered all possible options? can you see other options? can you backup your decision with fact or just gutt feeling?”. Your coach can be a hired business/personal coach, or for the lack of a better term, it can be another CEO you trust, or a seasoned family member with some serious lifelong experience – but it has to be someone you look up to, someone you trust and most importantly, someone who is capable of listening and reflecting with you – not simply tell you what to do.
Since September 2016, the business coaching had evolved into CEO peer review sessions. Peer reviews are really important – I never quite realized how important they are, till I started attending these myself. As I previously said, the CEO chair and office are a lonely one. Being inside a Peer review group of CEOs helps get an additional perspective on things. There are various forms of review boards, the one I am part of is called TAB. Don’t get me wrong, the review board is there not to echo your thoughts, it is there to provide you with a set of “slanted mirrors”, with each CEO in the review board seeing your issues from a different angle – each one giving his own feelings, reflections and experience into the mix. Personally speaking, without the assistance of the review board I’m a part of, I’m not sure I would have been able to pull off 2017 as I did.
Thus, allow me to provide you with the following pieces of advice:
- If you are an entrepreneur or CEO and you are contemplating upon an issue, feel free to contact me via the message board – leave me your email, I promise to come back to you.
- If you are about to lose your mind about something relating to your business – relax! It’s nothing more than a minor anxiety attack, take a deep breath, pour yourself a nice little drink and reflect. After 5 minutes, trust me, it would all look extremely simple.
- Make sure you have someone to confide with – it’s important. If you are going to some form of therapy, DO NOT CONFIDE with your therapist – they are therapist, not business people. Only confide with people who can truly appreciate your currently status and position, anything else is just imagination.
And the most important advice is the following:
With every challenge and difficulty lies an opportunity. Winners see the opportunity in everything, losers see only the difficulties – be a winner