I have had the great blessing of working with many founder-CEO’s over the past 3 decades. In most of these situations, I was either a trusted advisor, colleague, and or the #2 (Chief Operating Officer). As I reflect on these experiences, even though these visionary business leaders all had different personalities, gifts, skills, and leadership abilities, the one common denominator I experienced was a deep sense of loneliness and in many times a deep isolation.
14 years ago when I was deciding on going back to get my Masters Degree, many folks I knew scoffed at me when I chose an MS in Counseling over an MBA. At the time I did not realize how much this education and subsequent experience would benefit me as I walked closely with Founder-CEO’s over the past decade plus.
The sad truth is while many founder-CEO’s have vibrant and healthy cultures, even those that do, still, struggle because there are several forces at play that are simple reflections of human nature more than anything else.
The hardest part for a Founder-CEO in all of this is simply coming to terms with it. Understanding it, even dare I say, embrace it. With understanding comes the ability to do something to impact it. There are people who can help you, be it coaching, counseling, advising, or even taking a piece of the workload off you. Seek a qualified person (or group of people via a CEO roundtable organization), to share the burden with. Understand you are NOT alone, it is that truth that will help set you free