The term, “lonely at the top” has real meaning for many CEOs. In a CEO Snapshot Survey, 61% of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role, and they know it hinders their performance. If you are a first-time CEO, the percentage rises to 70%. It should not be a shocker that pastors have similar feelings at the same rates as CEOs. In a 2017 survey of pastors, 62% said they were lonely and needed a trusted confidant.
I recognized a loneliness just after selling our first tech firm and starting our second tech firm. There were very few men in my circles who were experiencing what I was experiencing. I was a young CEO dealing with employees, investors, boards and clients across the country.
As it was for me, the biggest issue CEOs state they are facing is not having anyone to confide in. Most of their close friends will not face the challenges they face each day, so they can’t simply go to them and ask, “What should I do?” It is lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be.
After I started my second company, I heeded some advice from a seasoned executive and found a coach and a mentor. Now, I had two to talk to in times of need and loneliness. Being a person of faith, I even added an accountability partner to my team to be sure I kept in-line with my spiritual beliefs and lived them out each day, as best I could.
Twenty years later, I still have an executive coach/mentor, and I still talk multiple times each week with my accountability partner 19 years later. They never shy away from taking my call and allow me to visit (or even spend the night at their homes) when I need some guidance or companionship.
Today, I find the most joy in my week serving other executives and pastors. My three-fold focus is providing clarity, time for private conversations and guidance on putting high-potential leaders around them. Private conversations occur at their location, a chosen offsite location or here in Charleston.
Yes, it is lonely at the top, but it does not have to be. There are a few of us who have walked in your shoes and willing to walk with you in this journey. While your company, executive team and employees will be better for it, no one wins more than you and your family. If anything, do it for yourself and for them.
If you are in need of a trusted advisor and confidant, call Mitch at 803.466.3220 or email [email protected]
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