Frankly, most entrepreneurs think they are business owners but actually they have bought themselves a job. The term self-employed says it all.
For most entrepreneurs, the highest motivation to go into business is freedom or the idea of freedom. Instead they get the freedom to work 24/7 on their own stuff that is far from the freedom they envisaged.
Successful businesses are not run by employees, they are run by CEOs who lead the business and the employees follow their lead.
So, what’s the difference between being the CEO or the employee of your business? The difference is in the perspective of how you look at, lead and run your business.
As the CEO and leader of your business, you need to be able to step back and see the big picture of your business, where it is at, where it is going, different options to get there, what choices are available, strategic decisions to be made, consequences of decisions, etc.
The biggest difference between a CEO and an employee is that the CEO sees the business from a big picture perspective and the employee sees the details of the business.
If you don’t have a big picture of your business, then you get lost in the details with no direction to follow. The reason most entrepreneurs get lost in the details is that they are experts and they live in the details of their expertise.
To explain this, I love the metaphor of being lost in the desert. Say you are in the middle of the desert, the sun is beating mercilessly down on you and you are dying of thirst. All you can see around you is sand in every direction.
However, if you had a map that could pinpoint where you were, then you would have seen that there was water just over the dune in front of you. But because you don’t have a map, you have no way of knowing that.
Or if you could have risen up in the air to get a birds-eye view, you would also have been able to see the water. Both views would give you a big picture.
This describes the perspective between how you as the CEO look at your business versus you as the employee.
Both perspectives are important. I am not negating or dismissing the importance of details. The thing is you want to see how the details fit into the big picture, versus seeing the details just as details. Does that make sense?
How do you know that you are running your business from the perspective of an employee?
- You don’t have a crystal clear vision that is written down for your business in terms of what you wish to create and achieve that is specific enough that you can make an image of it.
- You don’t have a clear plan that you can see at a glance where you are and where you are going in alignment with your vision.
- You have a mile-long to-do list that never seems to get smaller and yet you don’t seem to make headway. In fact, you seem to be stagnant in one place.
- You find that you procrastinate and leave things until the last minute. Then you scramble to get it all done and as things inevitably fall through the cracks, you beat yourself up about it. The same scenario plays out if you call yourself a perfectionist. Both these patterns are fear-based. Fear of making a mistake because of what that would say about you.
As the employee, you tend to take things personally when anything goes not according to expectations. You make it all about you.
How is it different running your business from the perspective of the CEO?
Now, as the CEO of your business, you do have a crystal clear vision and a clear plan that gives you the big picture of your business at a glance.
This gives you the ability to step back from the details and looking at your vision and plan from this perspective, you can see where you are, where you are going and how you are getting there. You can see gaps and opportunities. You can see obstacles and how to avoid them. You can easily make decisions.
Because you have a plan and you know what to do, when and why, there is no need for procrastination. Now you can plan to do things ahead of time that saves you time and leaves you feeling relaxed.
The golden benefit of stepping back is that it gives you psychological distance that removes heightened emotions and this calms you down. From this perspective of distance and calmness you can see what the consequences of your choices are and this allows you to make sound decisions.
How do you shift from employee to CEO?
First you need to clarify your 1-year vision and then create a proper plan that you can look at your year at a glance that gives you the roadmap to achieve your vision.
Once you have this in place, you just practice stepping back daily. Practice looking at your vision and your plan and notice from this perspective what is happening in your business and what are the results of your actions measured against your goals.
Practice asking questions to expand your perception and self-awareness:
- What are all the options available to achieve this goal?
- What are the consequences, short-term and long-term of the options available?
- What can I learn from this? How can I use this?
- What are 3 ways I can accomplish this outcome?
- What is the next step or smallest step that would move me forward?
- What resources do I need to accomplish this outcome?
Shifting from employee to CEO is a way of being is all about managing your inner game that is one of the 6 Power Habits to fast track your business success?
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