I was previously the CEO of a leading marketing technology company with nearly 1000 employees in 21 offices worldwide, but that’s wasn’t my most important role. My most important role is something more personal: being the CEO of my own life.
You have as much control over your own life and success as a CEO has over the success of his or her company — often even more. You have the ability and power to make decisions in every area of your life. You are responsible for your happiness, your friendships, and your job. If you don’t like them and want to change them — you can.
Often, people do not take as much of a conscious, organized approach when it comes to managing their personal lives as they do their professional lives. They let others control their life, success, and happiness. This is a missed opportunity.
The most important skill I use as CEO (the most important skill for any CEO) is the ability to execute and get things done. You need to master this same skill as CEO of your own life. In life, as in business, I have to base my actions on my vision for the future. Here are three ways to make yourself the CEO of your own life and to master execution.
1. Define Your Vision
Having a clear vision not only determines how you act, but it also gives those actions meaning. While executives understand that organizations need a vision and a purpose, many people don’t realize that their own lives require the same driving factors.
While details like your career and your relationship may reflect aspects of your personality, they don’t make up your vision for your life. One of the reasons some people have difficulty when they retire or change careers is that they feel lost and struggle to find their identities.
Understanding your vision of yourself and your purpose is vital. Once you determine your vision, it’s much easier to determine the actions you must take to fulfill that vision. If, for example, your vision is to serve your community, you will view the other facets of your life through that lens, from how you spend your time to how you spend your money.
2. Take Action
Once your vision has been firmly established, it will guide your actions in a meaningful way. If you’re going to get anywhere, you’ve got to take that first step.
Taking action is not easy; you will have to overcome fear, doubt, and quite possibly rejection. To successfully execute and be the CEO of your own life, you must have the ability to feel fear and do it anyway.
It can be simple and straightforward: It just needs to be a step. There is no wrong action as long as it moves you closer to your vision. If you want to be an artist, take an art class. If you want to start a business, go do the research. If you want to write a book, write the first sentence.
The only way you will ever realize your vision is to take action. And the more you relate your actions to your vision, the more fulfilled you will feel. While it’s more comfortable to take the easy path and put your dreams on hold, don’t hide in the safety of settling. Great things can happen only when you step outside your comfort zone.
When I lost my first job in my early 20s, it would certainly have been easier to seek security as an employee at another tech company. But my vision was to create a life with freedom and control. After feeling unable to control my own destiny when my first company went bankrupt, this vision drove me to become an entrepreneur and allowed me to overcome my fears about doing so. I moved to Hawaii, where I worked at my kitchen table until all hours of the night and built a company that grew to over $100 million in annual revenue. My vision not only dictated my actions, but it also gave them the meaning that carried me through long hours, a myriad of doubts and continuous setbacks.
3. Audit Your Life
CEOs have to pay attention to all aspects of their businesses, and being the CEO of your life is no different. You need to evaluate all facets of your life and make changes where necessary. One of the most important factors contributing to your success or failure is the people you surround yourself with.
To be successful, you must build healthy, inspiring, and supportive relationships. Life is a team sport — you cannot do it alone. And who wants to? I would not be where I am today without all the people who have helped and supported me along the way. Building these relationships is not just a cornerstone to execution: It’s an integral part of success on all fronts of life.
The more you surround yourself with people who drain your energy or foster doubt, the less you are called to step into your true potential. The more you surround yourself with amazing people, the more you’re called to step into your greatness. I consciously make a point of spending more time with people who challenge, motivate, inspire, and support me and less time with people who drain my energy.
An organization is only as good as the people in it, and the same is true for your personal life. Other people influence us more than we like to imagine; their ideas, attitudes, and beliefs affect us both consciously and unconsciously.
Just as in a corporate team, surrounding yourself with the wrong people can mean the difference between success and failure. Build a personal culture of support, learning, and authenticity, just as you would do when creating a company culture. Jim Rohn famously said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Every year, I conduct an audit of the people in my life and who I am spending the most time with. Are they beneficial or detrimental? Are they neutral? Then I optimize my time to spend more of it with the positive influences and minimize my association with the negative influences. As the CEO of your own life, you have the ability to promote or demote the people you surround yourself with. This one action has had a huge impact on my success and my ability to continually execute.
Taking control of your life and making sure that your actions reflect your vision is necessary in the fast-paced, distraction-filled world we live in. Become the CEO of your life, and create the life you dream of.
Kim Perell is widely recognized entrepreneur, investor and national best selling author. A great believer in paying it forward, Kim loves to help aspiring entrepreneurs achieve success and is an early stage investor in over 100 start-ups, 15 of which have successfully been acquired by some of the largest Fortune 500 companies.
Originally published in Mogul