CEO - A Title Or A Choice?
January 28, 2022, Dina-Marie Weineck
Lately, I’ve found myself in a lot of conversations with friends and clients that consider their next move in their career, some contemplate leaving one career path in order to pursue another career path, some think about their next move within the same career. Either way, they’re yearning for a big change. I admire their bravery and see something oh-so-familiar in their eyes: The clash of excitement and terror that seems to set in the minute after they’ve made a pivotal Choice:
To become the CEO of their lives.
This article is for all those that are at a crossroads in their career. It’s for those that are thinking about pivoting, changing their career path, becoming freelancers, or leaving a perfectly “fine” career to start their own business. You might even see yourself in anyone of these stories:
One client, who is in their late twenties, is realizing that the career they’d been in pursuit of since age 6 isn’t exactly in alignment with their purpose. One minute, they’re fulfilled by the work they’re making space to do; the next minute they feel as though they’re abandoning their 6-year-old self and the career they’d imagined.
Another client is stepping up their game of collaboration, vitality, and possibility. It’s a game where the big job title they hold no longer fits in. They’re about to happily quit while their professional identity throws a tantrum.
A close friend who has built a successful career in Hollywood, and lost health and joy over this pursuit, called me with a confused state of mind: scared to put in their notice and fueled up with passion and purpose over the business plan they’re already putting into place. This plan of theirs? It has a crucial choice at the center of it. One I'll tell you all about in a moment.
I personally relate to these stories deeply: When I quit my job three years ago, I didn’t even tell my mentors about this decision that basically was going to save my sanity: What if they’re disappointed? What if they felt as though they’d been wasting their time mentoring me, writing references for me, introducing me to colleagues? What if they’d judge me as lazy or entitled, or worse, didn’t think this was the right choice? What if I lose all my network? Is there a way back? While I was throwing a party cleaning out my desk, I also felt like I’d abandoned my younger, hard-working self that had made this job possible in the first place. Reluctantly, I eventually changed my email signature calling myself the CEO of my own company. I felt like an imposter: Had I earned the title? Had I paid my dues? Could I just give myself that title?
Now I know: YES! I had and I sure as hell could. Why? Because I’d chosen myself and decided to take the reigns over my own life. Much like my friend and clients, I too was done waiting for approval and promotions and made a pivotal choice: I put myself at the center of my own career. And that’s a choice available to freelancers, entrepreneurs, and employees alike.
What if CEO was a choice instead of a title?
A choice to take back control. A choice to accept response-ability for your own life. Which becomes a choice to face your fears and do it anyway. Which becomes an act of choosing and seeking exponential growth over incremental growth. Ultimately, it becomes a question of what you want and if your current position can give you that. And a choice to make a change from the inside out in case it doesn't.
And that’s no easy choice: There is a certain comfort in the sense of validation that comes with a promotion or a raise, or from your big studio boss asking you to stay on for Season 2. There is a certain sense of accomplishment in getting a position you’ve interviewed for. You’re walking away from that. And you’re also walking away from the sense of complete loss of control when you need to abide by your boss’ rules because they sign your paycheck. And that is true for those going into entrepreneurship just as much as for those that stay employed or become freelancers, but with a CEO’s mindset. With this choice made, what becomes available is an infinite amount of validation and accomplishment that awakens within yourself.
Just to be clear: I’m not saying walk away from the promotion. I’m saying seek it out, actively create it on your terms, don’t wait for it. Choosing yourself is the ultimate promotion in life. Only you can give yourself that kind of a promotion, whatever that looks like for you.
CEO-ing your life, choosing yourself, is no selfish act.
Rather, it’s a rewarding fast-lane to unleashing ALL of your potential and using it to serve your communities deeply and in a way only you are able to. Society has conflated the ideas of choosing yourself and being selfish a bit. Suffice to say, choosing yourself is the greatest service you can do to the world, for kindness breeds kindness, love can’t survive without self-love, and “If they wanna make the world a better place, Take a look at yourself and then make a change.”
What choice are you going to make next?
Hugs and Love,