Do you ever feel like you have little control over things in your life?
In a previous blog post, I share how the current pandemic has taught me that I don’t have control over many things in life outside of myself. Happily, I’ve realized that there’s something I control. In fact, I have a very important role. I’m the CEO of my life! I control my actions, set intentions, express my values, needs and talents and set boundaries. It doesn’t matter if I’m working for a company, looking for a job, homeschooling my kids – whatever my situation, I’m the CEO of my life. I gained this impactful perspective about two years ago as a result of a talent management exercise at work.
I was asked to create a career profile and take stock and reflect on my skills, talents and strengths. After being at the same organization for almost twenty years, it’s easy to go with the flow and forget to stop and proactively think about my career. Because of the nature of my work and the industry I’m in, I’m constantly learning. However, it’s easy to get comfortable and feel reliant on my company for my career satisfaction. As I’ve learned, and share in Good Morning, Life!, my happiness shouldn’t be dependent on others.
As such, I took the stock-taking exercise seriously, and it turned out to be quite impactful. When I stepped back and considered my values and tried to answer forward-looking questions, such as “where do I see myself in five years?”, I realized it’s harder than I thought.
When I’m stuck, I turn to books for research and inspiration.
The wisdom in books give me new perspectives
Standing in front of my bookshelf, I scanned for something that would give me the insights I was looking for. In this case, my focus was career-related, so my eyes rested on a book called What Next?: The Complete Guide to Taking Control of Your Working Life by Barbara Moses, Ph.D. It was a book I hadn’t yet read. I won it in a raffle at work a while back. As I flipped through the pages I stumbled upon something that stuck out for me. It was a perspective that gave me confidence, empowerment and assurance. It’s what Barbara Moses calls being your own talent agent or career activist. I call it being the CEO of your life. The perspective applies to all aspects of life, both work and personal.
Being my own Talent Agent and the CEO of My Life
Being my own talent agent and acting as CEO of my life starts with understanding myself. It’s about being who I am – being authentic and honouring my values, needs and talents. In all aspects of my life, I’ll be most fulfilled if I can be Me.
Rather than letting my role or my organization’s culture define me or unduly influence me, I can think of myself as lending my skills to my employer. I’m in an egalitarian relationship with them and I’m renting out my skills and talents. Even if I’ve been renting them out for a number of years.
This has been a refreshing perspective for me. Rather than passively waiting for training courses that my employer offers, I can proactively consider what skills I’d like to develop and seek out opportunities. I feel like I’m writing my own script.
In a world that’s changing so rapidly, where I can’t control others or politics around me, I can easily feel out of control. Focusing on what I can control – my own actions and my career – can feel empowering. This lets me be at peace allowing others to be themselves, companies’ cultures to be what they are and the world to be where it’s at. This leads to personal resilience, a skill that’s increasingly getting the attention that it rightfully deserves.
Resilience in an uncertain world
Being the CEO of my life gives me the power of resilience. Similar to CEOs of companies who have to navigate uncertain environments, I have to do the same.
It’s also the ability to stand up for myself and my principles. I know I have to be prepared to make tough decisions and not hang my personality at the door of my employer. Barbara Moses also outlines that being your own independent agent includes seeing yourself as worthy of being protected – not allowing any work environment to deprive you of the right to feel good about yourself.
This vantage point gives me confidence and empowerment.
So when you feel like you have no control with all that is going on around you, think about the fact that you actually have significant power in your life – you are the CEO! This applies to work, personal and all aspects of life. Take the reins with confidence, empowerment and compassion for the other CEOs you interact with daily. Remember we are all doing the best we can!
Have a wonderful week!
Purpose. Intention. Do Your Best.