"You need to be the CEO of your life." That was the message from Kelly Mooney, businesswoman, author, and professional speaker, delivered during the Women in Digital Conference last week in Columbus, Ohio. In today's world, busy is often worn as a badge of honor, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. “When we talk about being busy, it can sometimes mean that life is happening to us and we’re not taking charge,” she explained. And when you’re not in charge, you risk a lot. This is especially true in the competitive sales world, where time is short, hustle is lauded, and burnout is common.
So, what does Mooney mean by being CEO of your life? Just like with a company, you have to ultimately be the one in charge of how you live. If you find yourself faltering or feeling burnt out, it might be time to start living more intentionally to take back that CEO title. Over her professional career, Mooney identified specific takeaways from her own experiences that allowed her to regain control and be the true leader of her own life.
Know Your Value. And Values.
“Sometimes it’s ok to slow down, sometimes it’s ok to step back,” Mooney explained. She urged the audience to not be afraid to hit pause if things don’t feel right. You might fear pausing will hurt your career in the fast-paced sales world, but that’s not the case. A timeout can do wonders for you, both personally and professionally. “We don’t have to just keep going at the same level and intensity,” she said. Stop, and take some time to really dig deep to figure out what is important to you, as well as what value you bring to the table. When these two things are clear, you can reset what you’re doing to align with them. Sometimes it’s necessary, she believes, to “Readjust your pace sometimes in order to then accelerate later.”
Own Your Choices.
Some salespeople dutifully wait for an opportunity to fall into their lap. Or, they just do the work that’s asked of them, even if they aren’t necessarily feeling fulfilled. By being complacent, they are actually missing out on some major opportunities. Hoping to someday be offered a sales manager position? Interested in pitching to a big prospect who's new to town? Don't wait; just go for it. "We do not have to wait to be chosen," Mooney said. "We have to do the choosing." Like any other CEO, take control and make things happen. Focus on what you want and need and pursue it. The first step is to simply be proactive and start a dialogue.
Build Your Own Board.
Find people who support you. Throughout the course of her career, Mooney “built” her own board, full of trusted contacts who had her back and nurtured her growth. “You have to surround yourself with people who you can learn from,” she explained. And, keep your board diverse: different genders, ages, industries, and backgrounds. Like a company CEO, it’s the board who will drive growth, knowledge and self-awareness. “Sometimes they’re going to give you a hug, sometimes they’re going to give you a kick in the pants, sometimes they are going to hold up a mirror. You need those people in your life,” she added. Start thinking of who is on your board now and continuously seek out others to fill more positions.
Care More About Less
Finally, Mooney addressed the sheer difficulty of juggling a career. Successful CEOs know what to focus on for the good of the company and simply let go of the rest. You need to do the same with your life. She assured the audience that it’s ok to just "let some things be undone.” Take a look at your to-do list and honestly pare it down to things that really matter. As she put it, “care more about less.” You’ll find that your stress level will lower and, most likely, your productivity will jump because you will be giving more of yourself to what’s most important.
Mooney’s advice can be helpful for all sales professionals, but especially for those who are feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied or burnt out. Put the brakes on now, take her words to heart, and get back control as the CEO of your own life.