I thought the answer would be straight forward. It was not.
When I shared my idea of this topic with my team I thought, "You know, I’ve been CEO for ten years, I can write about this really easily". Until I sat down to write this and realised, it’s not easy at all.
To be honest, I didn’t just 'sit down'. As I’m writing this, I’m on a plane, glued to my seat en route to Mumbai to meet new clients. With no chance of escape, I’ve given myself the firm and non-negotiable time frame of completing this prior to landing in three hours.
This partly answers the question of what it takes to be CEO. To be CEO of the two companies I founded takes time, a whole lot of juggling and, occasionally, being strapped to an aeroplane seat. Since I’m the founder of both Vital Corporate Solutions and Vitality Consultancy, it’s not just a job; this is my life. And as with anything - and everything - in life, I want to keep developing and growing.
When I founded these companies I knew I would be challenging myself and I knew it wouldn’t be easy. What I did know was that is going to be extremely enjoyable, pressuring and complex but overall, something I will take on with passion because that’s who I am. I don’t do a 9-to-5.
However, as the business and the team have grown I have realized that I haven’t just grown professionally, I have grown personally.
The challenges - I wish I could think of a better word, because they are not challenges in a difficult way, but rather learning opportunities - change every day and I’ve realized that every day brings a chance to learn.
This all sounds like lovely mentor speak, doesn’t it? But refusing to look at the in-flight entertainment, I’m allowing myself to reflect on this. Yes, my job description according to our ISO manual says "CEO", but it doesn’t paint the picture I want to share with you.
I would love to say my role is to guide my team to implement the strategies I have determined as the best route for growth for our brands but is that the reality?
YES! It's absolutely the reality. To GUIDE is the real ‘job’. As CEO of Vitality and Vital, I am a mother, a sister, a friend, a mentor, an aunt, a leader, a healer, a compass and sometimes chef! I am whatever my team needs me to be and I love it… most of the time.
I am being raw and vulnerable to say "most of the time". It’s probably expected that I scream "I love it!" all of the time but the truth is, it’s not always true. Sometimes I want a duvet day. I want to stay home, get a pedicure and eat ice cream (vegan, obviously) and be a singular, irresponsible person for just one day.
And you know what, every once in a blue moon, I do it. I do love my role most of the time but at times it’s exhausting and stressful because my decisions alone impact my team and my clients. It’s only natural that I make mistakes but, I will say this, I have a great team (and I include my home family as much as my work Family), who pick me up, dust me off and give me the confidence to keep growing.
So what does it takes to be CEO? It takes everything - your time, your thoughts and sometimes, even your sanity. Why do I keep doing it? Because it gives me everything!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your CEO (and chef, and mother, and mentor, and friend).