The #1 CEO Killer

Blog 16
They say “it’s lonely at the top.” Many of us have no idea. Blinded by our envy, our fantasies, and our grandiose visions of success, fame, power, and office, we imagine the bliss of being a top-dog.

But leadership involves loneliness. Despite the teams and trustees, boards and assistants, leaders are, by nature of their position, set apart (meaning they are by themselves). Despite a constellation of colleagues around them, they often feel like an isolated universe unto themselves. Despite all the handshaking and hellos, all the social media “likes”, and all the networking they navigate, leaders are, by definition, without equal (meaning without company).

Like a castaway on the ocean, leaders are surrounded by water, but have nothing to drink. They are surrounded by people, yet feel utterly alone. This remoteness, this alienation, this solitariness is the number one killer of all CEOs, business owners, and sole proprietors. Despite their amazing gifts, talents, abilities, and skills, leaders suffer from a built-in business barrenness. Their professional seclusion and positional exile often lead to quiet heartache, low-grade depression, and suppressed despair.

What’s a CEO to do? As a leader it’s hard to know who to talk to, who to trust, who

to confide in. There are things that don’t seem helpful to process with a spouse, an employee, or a close associate. It feels like no one understands. And truth be told, most don’t understand. Consequently, the temptation is to downplay the detachment, suck it up, and pretend everything is good enough. Just press on. La la la. Ignore the wheels wobbling. Drive without oil. And cross your fingers. Until it all blows up!

I understand. I know firsthand the brutal bleakness of leading. I know about the criticisms, the betrayals, and the stab wounds in the back to prove it (but that’s another story). I also unfortunately know how to sabotage my own career and calling. Don’t go there. Quit grinding it out alone. Refuse to let yourself get so depleted stupid stuff happens. A personal and private Life Coach can make a practical difference. It has for me! It can for you!

Loneliness leads to terrible things. Get your strength back. Restore your confidence. Reinvest in your own well-being. Loneliness is the #1 killer of leaders. Get a coach in your corner, a wingman on your flank, a spotter to back you, a comrade to do battle with. Defeat loneliness. Partner with a coach!