"Why Didn't I Realize That" Lessons Shared by Growth Stage CEOs

As a CEO, there is an expectation of fearlessness. Does not mean we need to pretend that we have all of the answers? Vulnerability is an important leadership attribute. (Have you read Brene Brown's new book?)

We welcomed CEOs and Trajectify coaches to the 2018 Trajectify CEO Leadership Retreat a few weeks ago. We discovered and worked on many of the challenges in growing a $1M+ business. Each CEO took the hot seat in a mastermind session, most discussing with their peer struggle they are facing. Everyone gained new insights and perspectives.

After a day long event of content and mastermind sessions, we asked each attendee for their biggest takeaway from the event. Here are five lessons learned that you can probably use today to grow your business:

1. “I need to use all talents into our company.”

As companies grow and expand, new jobs typically become more narrowly defined. The wealth of skills that are available in your company can easily to get lost in the shuffle of day to day tasks. It is important to remember that underutilized talents are likely readily available throughout your team. Remember when you were the first and only “employee?” There was a resourcefulness and scrappiness that you can continue to harness even as your team and company grows.

2. “I like to think of myself as my own sinking ship. I’ve never done anything like this. It’s good to work on our challenges together. It’s like founder’s therapy.”
“Everyone has different problems, making perspectives so diverse. Listening to others own issues and solutions allowed me to rethink some of my own issues in my company.”

There is no problem that hasn't already been solved at least once before. Working with peers in similar situations and with diverse perspectives provides access to greater knowledge and experience and opens your mind to new ideas. There is also comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

3. “I’ve realized that most of the decisions I’m making right now are emotional. I didn't think I do that.”

It's difficult to not be emotional when facing difficult situations or frustrating challenges. Peers and coaches bring outside-in and unemotional perspectives. We like emotional intelligence in our leadership. Empathy is an important skill. When dealing with business strategy or tactics, emotion is a distraction and can lead us to make ill-informed or badly calculated decisions. Intuition is fine, but clarity, consensus and data are best.

4. “There was no negativity to any of the issues raised today. I gained so many new outlooks through helping others in a positive way.”

There is so much to this statement! First, stepping out of your comfort zone means growth. Participating in masterminds and events like this retreat offers so much more than a bulleted list of benefits and key takeaways. Second, working with others - having a peer group - doesn't only help you gain insights into your issues. Helping others face their challenges offers equal benefit. Finally, shit happens and none of us is perfect. Negative emotions and feedback rarely help. Positivity is the path to all solutions.

5. “Today was the first time I ever meditated. I will be doing it more often.”

At every of our Leadership Retreats, after challenging mastermind sessions, we take ten minutes to do a guided meditation. We've written about this before - Meditation helps you regain a focused mind. For some of our attendees, it was the first time they ever mediated. We are excited that they've added a new skill to their leadership toolbox.

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