Be Your Own CEO

Background

I recently had a one on one with a senior vice president at my company. The topic of conversation was how I felt about some changes happening with my product team. At one point, I said that my work strategy is to “actively curate my work experience and life.” His eyebrows rose a bit and he seemed a bit taken aback. this philosophy encompasses having a specific idea of what I would like to learn as well as other desired outcomes. I realized that most of my colleagues probably approach him with a very different attitude about their work life. This realization is the basis of this post.

Making Changes

I truly believe that you can work with a lot of great people and still hate what you do every day. The reverse is also possible. I have worked in both of these scenarios professionally. For years, I would become discouraged and simply not offer my best work each day. Upon acknowledging this fact 5 years ago, I decided to adopt a few personal principles to help me exercise more control over my worklife:

  • Focus on Being a Leader Daily.
  • Invest in 1 Activity Weekly to Better Yourself.
  • Participate in Forums and Groups.
  • Foster Great Professional Relationships.
  • Make the Most of Every Opportunity

Examples

It is important to understand that many of the tasks I take on to help me achieve these principles are not huge under takings. However, I drive myself to do them each day to meet my own standards. Here are a few of the activities:

  • I listen to at least 1 professional, financial, or political podcast a day..
  • I volunteer for a non-profit at least quarterly.
  • I maintain a blog to keep my writing skills sharp.
  • I actively participate in conversations daily on Quora, The Academy, StackOverflow, and Linkedin.
  • I routinely talk to personal and professional mentors to receive feedback.
  • I take on additional projects at work that fall outside of my role.

Conclusion

By implementing these 5 principles, I am able to enjoy my day to day work. Even more importantly, my new and improved attitude and enjoyment of my work has led to numerous opportunities. In under 2 years, I have almost doubled my salary, picked up additional income sources from consulting, and been asked to lead major development endeavors with prominent non-profit organizations. This success is not a matter of “luck.” This success stems from my decision to be the CEO of my life.