How to be a CEO - it's Not as Hard as You Think!

It’s May Day or Fête du Travail - a day to honour the humble worker. In keeping, the Guardian published an article today reporting that MPs warn of the downside of the growing UK ‘gig economy’ where employees become self-employed by choice or necessity (e.g. via the business model operated by Uber, Deliveroo, Hermes, and Amazon.)

Of course, I see the downsides they report (no employee protection for pension or health), but there is something to learn from the business model, even for the employed.

I’ve long been an advocate of being your own CEO - viewing yourself as the product, the service, the Brand and Marketing Manager, the CFO, the Sales Manager, the CHRO and Learning & Development Officer. Taking responsibility for our own skills development (personal and professional), our own career path, how we present yourselves to the world, how we show up in the world is about showing personal leadership; and personal leadership must be embraced before we can embrace business leadership.

This might be controversial,...

...but I have always felt that an employer should not be solely relied upon for the development we need. For sure, they have a part to play if they really value their employees; and if they are prepared to pay for that expensive leadership course, why not? However, I have always considered it as the icing on the cake of doing the course, not an expectation that they should pay. Of course, it will be good for them if you take that leadership course, making you a more productive and effective leader, but it will be even better for you, enhancing your skills at a professional level, and opening up so much from a personal perspective, such as confidence, clarity, and communication skills. This is not to say that companies are off the hook for investing in their people, but I recommend leading yourself first.

For me, investing in myself in a variety of mind-expanding, up-skilling courses, a stylist, networking groups, or philosophical exploration according to what the ‘Business of Me’ needs says that I back myself; I believe in myself; I value myself; I am my own CEO. I have not relinquished control of my life and career development to someone else.

Having this take gave me unshakeable power and confidence to carve out a life and career path I truly desired. Without a sense of obligation, misdirected loyalty, a false sense of job security, and expecting to be ‘looked after’ by the organisation, I was able to step out of the corporate world when the time felt right - some say this was a brave decision, but in the context of striving to be my own CEO, perhaps it was a natural next step.

This was my route to fulfilment in life and career. Yours may be different.

So, hold a mirror up - are you your own CEO? Do you truly back yourself? Do you have that unshakeable power and confidence to carve out a life and career path you truly desire - whatever that looks like to you?

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