We can’t control our spouses. We can’t control our friends. We can’t control our kids. We can’t control our parents. No matter how hard we try or how much we may want to, we can’t control anyone else. The only person we have command over is ourselves. We are in sole control of our mind and body. Think of yourself like the CEO. You are at the helm, leading it in the right (or wrong) direction.
Once you realize that you are the CEO, you need to start thinking and behaving like one. The choice is yours as to the type of CEO you want to be. On one side of the spectrum is Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber, with his systemic culture of pervasive harassment, unkind words, and bad decisions. On the other side is Oprah with her ability to say the right things, set goals and prioritize her own health and personal development. Most of us are somewhere in between.
Here are 7 things you can do to take control and be the CEO of your own life.
Determine Your Personal Values: Organizations have values. Good organizations use these values to guide their actions and decision-making, and you can do the same for yourself. Once you have your personal values defined, use them to make decisions, drive behavior change and determine what is most important to you.
Declutter Your Brain: Write down what is most meaningful to you in your life. This can be specific relationships, work, volunteerism, etc. Prioritize the list. Not everything is going to be equally important. The list you created is where you should focus your energy. Let the other stuff go.
Set Goals: With your list in hand, start setting some goals. Just like at work, make sure these goals are specific, measurable and have a deadline associated with them. Goals help give your life purpose and give you something to work towards.
Prioritize Your Health: If you don’t take care of your mind and body, you’ll be out of a job as CEO. Carve out time each day to exercise. Things like walks or body weight exercises don’t require any fancy equipment. Start small with a 10-minute walk and then work your way up from there.
Declutter Your Space: Just like in your brain, clutter in your home can make you anxious and cause you to lose site of what’s important. We’re all spending so much time at home right now, set a goal to go through 5 items a day to determine whether you will keep them, donate them, or trash them.
Try One New Thing Every Day: Have the courage to step outside of your comfort zone. This can be something big, like traveling to a new country or small like setting up a 30-minute conversation with someone you may not know too well. The emphasis isn’t on the actual activity but on your ability to keep pushing yourself.
Enjoy the Silence: In a world that is driven by social media and constant dings and pings from our devices, take some time to sit in silence and meditate. This doesn’t have to be a long time, even 5 minutes can be beneficial. In addition, intentionally pause throughout the day. Take a few breaths before responding to an email or returning a phone call. This will help ensure your values drive your response versus your emotions.
If you had to give yourself a performance rating today as CEO, how would you rate yourself? Once you start thinking like a CEO, you will manage your mind and body differently. With each step, you will build confidence and become more comfortable in your own skin. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for operating your “business.” Be the type of CEO that you can be proud of.