So now what? If any slender silver lining may be scrapped from the belly of this global pandemic cloud that has robbed us of so many loved ones and torn apart our lives, it the constant presentation of this question thrust upon us. The Corona virus has laid bare our own individual characters and set us on a pathless plateau inviting us to take any direction we select – or, for once, to sit down and reflect before charging anywhere at all.
All those tightly knit highways that lured us along toward goals that charmed us most, got washed away and locked down. (The school that would catapult you into that prestigious business suddenly closed its doors. So, in fact, did the business.) Our best laid entertainments and distractions dropped away like autumn leaves from our screens and minds. With all the old props kicked out from under us, self-mastery has become our default mentor system. Fate has invited you to be Chief Executive Officer of Yourself.
Amid the frenzy of our pre-pandemic routines, most of us did not see our lives as a succession of choices; or if we did, we did not see them as ours to make. It was this unfortunate lack of discernment that inspired me three years ago to pen the first edition of CEO of Yourself. But now the choices stand painfully evident. The reset button has been hit. The barnacles of fully packed schedules have been cut away from our days, and the governance of our own precious time dropped suddenly into our own surprised hands.
So Now What? is the decision that is truly yours – alone to make. Today.
Perhaps the second-most most gratifying sound to ring in any author’s ears is to hear the words of his own message shared in the discussions of others. So it has been with CEO of Yourself. I keep catching snatches of chatter from individuals who are finding new visions and drawing up solid plans for personal fulfillment. As we wrestle with the plague, a fresh spirit of self-mastery is entering our minds and conversations:
– “What I want is not what I’ve been taught to want…I am laying out a new course, with me at the helm.”
You are the expert at what you want. And yes, there are beggars at your door – those desperately seeking everything from your patriotic or spiritual allegiance, to your dollars for their brand of sexy sports socks. But you’ve learned who’s really in charge. They come soliciting. You, at your leisure, may select whatever pieces of their creed or product will serve you best. Or you may send them on their way.
And by the way, ever notice how you are piloting your course along the stream toward new opportunities, rather than just avoiding old obstacles?
– “I’m beginning to suspect that I am absolutely marvelous.”
People are stepping out from under the shadows of others and searching every room in their inner warehouse. They are calling up new and neglected assets – personal skills, spiritual energies, and powerful emotions they can bring to bear. (Emotions add muscle to our goal engines. While it may serve others to have you repress them, if you’re taking aim, you’ll need your explosive passions to seize that opportunity.) And yes, you are marvelous. You simply have to find a good way to prove it to yourself.
– “This new freedom is easy, but making a success of it – really getting the maximum advantage – takes some real planning and work.”
‘Tis high time to take on the mantle of CEO of the Enterprise of You. Time to assess your circumstances, create your personal vision, lay out your product plan, gather the resources, advisors, and agents, then launch into the wild entrepreneurial ride of making it so. Oh good Ganesh, your spirit is prepped for this journey.
Also, you may try sharpening you executive experience. Granted the best wine in the world is the wine you like the best, but if you’ve only savored two vintages in your life, a little experimenting may help you select more wisely. Ever consider fishing in Mongolia or hunting for wisdom in ancient mythology? I’ve found both are well stocked.
– “Life is messy. I’m assaulted by offerings, decisions, demands. This last year has set me thinking and hammering out some personal principles to guide my actions.”
Now that you’re not following other folks’ road maps, you will need to set down your honest, individual, deep-core beliefs. Summon your spiritual energy and blend in your experience. These will provide sensible, shortcut guide to your actions. And amid your vital molding of these thoughts, you have probably realized that any principle you hold must include some personal joy and benefit to you.
Having watched those medical first responders and nonprofit food-pantry entrepreneurs, it is obvious they are acting out of a strong personal reverence for life. But a quick glance into their eyes smiling above the mask shows they have also discovered a joyful benefit in this belief and the resulting action.
– “Covid-19 has laid bare all those institutions seeking to rule and direct our lives – and they have not delivered.”
Like the pretentiously naked emperor, we have found our institutions really aren’t clothed in such sacrosanct authority after all. Major businesses, our religions, our supply lines of endless stuff, our governments with their bunches of systems sworn to serve and protect – our grandest institutions have all faltered during the pandemic. The infallibility cloaks are off. And the salvations each has so richly held out have failed to appear. From toilet paper and bicycles, to peace of mind and soul, to compassionate patriotism, to wealth-gushing promotions, our yearnings have, for once, outstripped the promises of limitless supply. And, well, somehow they seem to have dwindled in importance. (‘Tis remarkable how small run the ripples of concern over the scarcity of the almighty computer chip.)
This plague has pulled back the veil of veneration with which we’ve invested these movements and organizations. We see them more clearly as mere clusters of folks gathered together with the intention of serving themselves or some interest they deem worth serving. Now it’s your call. How much allegiance are you willing to invest? How much guidance will you take from their pre-fixed menu of beliefs? They are directors no longer – they are only advisors bearing suggestions.
CEO of Yourself – second edition
As Fate and the spirits that forever prod my soul would have it, the second edition of CEO of Yourself was reworked during the pandemic. My first edition was sparked from my radio show, The Art of the CEO, in which I routinely mentioned that “the Good Lord has gifted you with the title and privileges of CEO of yourself, and since that is the most important position you will ever hold in your career, allow me to ask will this be the day that you….” say, “dust of your dreams?” Somehow it took hold. Folks loved this as a discussion point. Right alongside, within the same weekly programs, our audiences kept hearing the tales of our guest business leaders retelling their own version of the business process. The elements made sense, and made success: enter your workplace with a solid vision – scrutinize each situation – assess all those assets – see all the decisions, and hunt up the opportunities – then they select a path and enlist all the right people to bring that opportunity to fruition. In short, these leaders were acting as the chief executing officer within their realm.
All of this begged the obvious questions: Well, if it works so well for business, why not my own life? Who says I have to dump this powerful self-mastery model in the drawer at workday’s end and head for home with no vision beyond a wishful fantasy? Thus, employing a template of chief executive planning, along with techniques garnered from all aspects of the human experience, the concept of CEO of Yourself entered book form.
Our second edition of CEO of Yourself takes aim at helping you forge your answer to So Now What? As we emerge from the initial onslaught of the worldwide pandemic, more decisions, opportunities, and, frankly, a lot more chaos will be filling our days. Hopefully we will each be able to rise from the ashes with a more enlightened vision and a stronger plan for our fulfillment journey.
At the urging of readers, we’ve made a few improvements, including some room for personal notes and more thought-sparking questions.
In keeping with these career-disruptive times, we have also added a final section: The Entrepreneurial Employee. It includes the tales and lessons learned of several salaried employees who carried the entrepreneur’s vision and venture-launching mindset to into their workplaces. They prove that self-mastery is not a matter of who signs your paycheck, and earning a wage need not make you a wage salve.
The first edition of CEO of Yourself is currently available on BartsBooks.com. The second CEO of Yourself edition is underway and will be available in November. Either way, we hope to add some practical guidance, with touches of lighted hearted humor, as you square off and discover the solutions to the question conf ronting us all: So Now What?
Oh, as a final bon mot, earlier I mentioned “the second-most most gratifying sound to ring in any author’s ears.” And the first? Well naturally, it is the sound of a spouse reading every author’s five favorite words from a royalty check: “pay to the order of…”
Twenty years after the attacks of September 11, 2001 what sweeps into my memory is the compassionate spirit that immediately – instinctively followed. In New York City the lines of volunteers eager to help and rescue stretched all around the entire Javits Center. The government agencies were literally overwhelmed the piles of donated equipment and hordes to of individuals reporting for any kind of duty. In South Brunswick New Jersey, the police suited up and raced to the local mosque – not to arrest, but to protect the worshippers of Islam from anyone seeking some form of misguided vengeance. And so did our police people all across the nation. As victims were running down from the flames, hundreds of firefighters were running up, making rescues.
That compassion was – and is – our first response. That is who we are as individuals, and how we act as a nation. And that is the source of my own pride in America.
– Bart Jackson
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