I know CEO’s are forever focused on the obvious: people, culture, and finances … but what about the all-important that arguably influences those x3 things the very most? The CEO’s happiness, and – as I’ve found out this year, especially – one of the most important levers to pull, because a happy CEO is a thriving business.
I’m a little embarrassed to share this, but I share this so that others can stand in solidarity [and potentially feel less alone], the last x3 December’s in my business have had me crying to my business coach, exasperated from so much trying [and in so many areas], but not really feeling truly happy within my business.
My business coach refers to it as my Thelma and Louise December vibe, i.e I very-much-so fantasise about driving off into the sunset [lol].
This year, though? Well, it marked a significant transition for me: from business owner to a fully-engaged CEO. After nine years, I was hell bent [unapologetic, even] in reclaiming my happiness by making strategic changes, and I’ve penned this here blog post because I thought to myself, “maybe you’re ignoring the happiness lever, also?”.
Let’s unpack the levers I had to pull.
Becoming more visible in my business again
For years, I worked behind the scenes, ensuring that our services were top-notch. However, I realised that to grow, I needed to be more than just the brains behind an operation; I needed to be the face of it, too. Stepping into the spotlight [not the most comfortable place for an Autistic introvert, admittedly], I began engaging more with our clients, our team, and our community. This visibility not only helped in building stronger relationships … but also instilled a sense of trust and authenticity in our brand.
Less of the people pleasing, more of the authenticity
In the past, I often found myself trying to please everyone – a common trap for many leaders. This year, I chose authenticity over appeasement. This meant making tough decisions that were right for the business, even if they weren’t popular. It was about leading with conviction, not for applause.
F*ck the applause, honestly.
Setting better boundaries
One key to my newfound happiness was learning to set and respect boundaries. This didn’t just apply to my professional life … but extended to personal boundaries as well. Clear boundaries helped me manage my time better, reduce stress, and improve overall productivity – both for me and my team.
The courage to be disliked
A pivotal moment in my journey was embracing the idea that you can’t be liked by everyone – and that’s okay. It’s a liberating concept. Surprisingly, by caring less about being universally liked, I found more genuine connections and respect.
Improving the business’ financial health
Another critical aspect was focussing on the financial health of the business. Streamlining processes, focusing on profitable ventures, and making informed decisions led to a more stable and prosperous business, contributing significantly to my peace of mind.
… and the financial health I deserve as a business owner.
Enhancing workplace culture
Finally, the heart of any business is its culture. I dedicated time to nurturing a positive, inclusive, and dynamic workplace. Investing in our culture meant investing in our people, and their happiness and productivity reflected back on the health of the business.
This journey of becoming more visible in my business and making these crucial changes has been transformative. It’s brought me a sense of fulfilment and happiness that transcends professional success. My message to fellow business leaders is simple: find your happiness levers and don’t be afraid to pull them.
Your business, your team, and most importantly, you, will be better for it.
You can follow my leadership, and [I hope] thought leadership, on LinkedIn here.