Taking Control as the CEO of Your Life
I remember the first time I heard someone say that I could be the “CEO of my life.” It stopped me dead in my tracks. You mean that I can (gulp) be in control? Strike that. That I’m already in control? See, I had always thought that I was the victim of circumstance. Everything is happening to me! They made me mad. Or sad. Or happy, for that matter. And the real danger is in the logic (hello, lawyer brain!): if I have no control over anything happening in my life, I don’t need to change because it won’t make a difference. Yikes! Did I actually think I had done all the self-work I could possibly do by the ripe age of 30? Did I really think I had nothing left to learn, had mastered relationships and self-care, and had reached the highest heights in my career?! I knew deep down none of that was true. But I needed a concrete mindset reset to get me moving in a different direction—one towards developing value-aligned goals and doing everything in my power to achieve them to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life. Rather than my old fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach, heavily influenced by social “norms” and the many unconscious, inherited life rules I was living by. As soon as I realized that I got to be the CEO of my life, everything shifted. I started doing A LOT of things differently. Just to name a few:
  • Making important decisions about my life, without needing other people’s approval. Or worrying about pleasing others.
  • Inviting by choice new “board members” into my circle of influence, and, at times, letting go of other board members who had been on the board for way too long without being productive and left me feeling drained.
  • Going to therapy to finally heal age-old wounds that had me feeling triggered on a regular basis.
  • Working with life and business coaches for (i) a safe space to dream, (ii) a nudge to move faster and further towards my personal and professional goals, (iii) a sounding board to help me figure out what to do with the millions of thoughts running through my head at once and keeping me up at night, and (iv) help breaking through all of the fears keeping me stuck as the old version of myself I so badly wanted to leave behind.
One of the most interesting shifts was the idea that I could consciously choose who to invite into my circle of influence to form my life’s board of directors. I let some really close relationships go, which made space for new, truly magical ones. I then worked very hard to strengthen the consciously chosen relationships and became a better partner in all of them over the years.

Once I capitalized on my power to shift my own energy, I recognized that the personal changes I was making were shifting the energy of the world around me too. At the macro level, I started seeing the world and life differently. At the micro-level, I started seeing myself, my career, and my relationships differently.

  • I stopped waiting for professional opportunities to fall into my lap and started seeking them out. I networked like crazy, enrolled in certification programs, acquired resources, and binged podcasts and personal-professional development books. And due to those efforts, opportunities DID ultimately fall into my lap and at lightning speed!
  • I put an end to codependency. I found my separate identity in my marriage, started celebrating my partner’s identity, and recognized that wanting each other around is a hell of a lot more powerful than needing each other. And having a healthy, supportive partnership (with the person I actually consider to be my first life coach due to his never-ending optimism, focus on solutions, and “can do” attitude) has carved out so much space for my creative energy to flow freely in order to grow personally and professionally.
  • And I slowly, methodically started recreating by design a career and life that I truly wanted -what I wanted to be doing for work, when and how I wanted to work, whom I wanted to serve, where I wanted to live, what kind of community I wanted to raise my children in, how I wanted to ignite my spirituality, and new life rules I wanted to live by. This is the real magic right here!

Now, let me be clear: I am still not perfect. I still haven’t figured it all out. This is my life’s work, after all, and I will always be striving to learn, change, and grow. So the thoughts still pop into my head on occasion that things are happening to me and that I have no control. But now I have tools to center myself:

  • I create space to chill and ground myself to pull out of the emotional reaction I’m having. Whether it’s a walk outside or just a couple of minutes of deep breathing in my office chair.
  • Once I recognize my destructive thought, I search for a different, more productive perspective that will push me towards solutions and away from the perceived “problem.”
  • Finally, I move into action by asking myself, “What can I do to change things here?”
To illustrate: I tend to work late and on the weekends, and recently, I was feeling a bit resentful towards my schedule. Here’s what the thought process looked like when I checked in with my energy:
  1. I’ve already committed to calls at these hours; I can’t possibly change client call times! (At this point, I’m feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and resentful.)
  2. Chill and breathe.
  3. Maybe I could try changing the most difficult time slots first and just see what happens. Worst case, they say no. But not asking is the only surefire way to stay stuck in the current situation.
  4. Okay, I’m going to talk to two particular clients with evening call times and ask them to change to times that fit in my desired schedule. (Okay, now I’m feeling empowered, hopeful, and in control.)
Let us know how the framework works for you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Hirsekorn

Emily Hirsekorn

Emily is a certified professional coach helping lawyers build confidence in themselves and their career choices so they can achieve more and stress less while redefining their identity Read Bio
Emily Hirsekorn

Emily Hirsekorn

Emily is a certified professional coach helping lawyers build confidence in themselves and their career choices so they can achieve more and stress less while redefining their identity Read Bio

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