Tonight we all get into bed the same way. Your CEO had a hard week too, but you would never know it. They will bear with the weight of their fears and thoughts and shove them down a little deeper in order to serve the needs of the company. They are trying to conceal their vulnerability. Partly because of the culture. Partly because of your expectations.
When that strategy fails, they will ask for help. Here are a few real CEO stories I heard this month:
"I said goodbye to my mom and I don't think I have ever experienced this much pain in my life. And tomorrow I still have to go in."
"My best friend's daughter took her life yesterday and I have to be here, inspiring people."
"This litigation may slow down my entire growth this year if I can't multiply myself into three full time people. Everything I have worked for could be gone in three months."
"My son hasn't talked to me in over a year."
"You can't walk in and be upset that your husband wishes you were still 28 and won't go to marriage counseling. You just have to show up. They are counting on you."
"I can't be the husband and father I want to be if I grow this company. So, this company is going to be my kid. And I hope that's enough, because I don't know how to do it all and still live with myself."
"I did all of that with $50 in my account praying they didn't ask me to lunch and feeling so guilty I couldn't impress them by buying coffee. I felt like a fake. In my head I was like, 'please don't walk me to my car.'"
"What no one tells you is how bitter you are going to be at what it took for you to get there. They don't tell you what it will cost."
"No matter what I give, they will still complain. I don't think they realize how much of my heart I put into this. And I am not sure if it would make a difference if they saw it anyway."
"I can make every one else feel great about who they are and what they are doing, but the entire time I have wondered what the heck am I doing here, saying this? And I hope they buy it because my neck is on the line next month if the numbers aren't up."
"I have spent nearly 80,000 on training since getting into this field. None of it was reimbursed. So, I basically bought myself this career and have no title for it, and still am waiting to feel qualified. What does that say?"
"I am afraid my kids are either going to hate me for working, or hate me for not working enough. Either way, I always feel like I am failing. I can't be the parent I want to be and successful. The stakes are high."
"I am terrified that if I hire a coach and they find out they will see me as weak."
If your CEO conversation isn't up here, I want to add it anonymously to the list.
CEO Support groups forming now. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org