What does it mean to become a CEO? More often than not, would-be bosses imagine that running your own company means living the high life. It’s not a 9-5 job, so your schedule is pretty flexible. As a CEO, you also get the chance to pursue your passion, which should make for light work — right?
Not quite. Being a CEO means being able to say “yes” to questions that are often difficult to answer. If you can confidently answer "yes" to the following questions, there’s a strong chance you’re CEO potential.
1. Are you willing to push through challenges in pursuit of your dream?
It takes great risk to become an entrepreneur. Anyone in pursuit of it must understand that they are choosing to leave behind a traditional job in favor of a untraditional career that will have its ups and downs — and sometimes more downs than ups.
Speaker and personal development coach Jessi Beyer encourages asking this question because it’s only natural that, at some point when running a business, you will encounter challenges. Whenever these moments occur, Beyer’s follow-up question is to ask yourself if you are crystal clear on your ‘why’ in business and life.
2. Are you ready to take on responsibility?
Running a business, no matter how many employees you have or what industry you’re in, is hard work. You’re about to invest more time and energy into your dream than you ever thought was possible. What happens if something goes wrong? The responsibility will fall on your shoulders.
You can't feel as though it’s time to go hide under the covers until everything blows over. Instead, you have to allow yourself to be held accountable for what has happened. You have to apologize if necessary and find clever ways to fix the issues. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s highly likely you’ll make even more mistakes in the future.
3. Can you think outside of the box?
Earlier, I mentioned that a big aspect of becoming a CEO is rooted in finding clever ways to solve problems. CEOs that thrive and survive in business tend to be the ones that face challenges head-on. They don’t mind thinking outside of the box to find a solution, and welcome the chance to flex their creative muscle. Creativity allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition. If you can think outside of the box and don’t mind trying new approaches to tackling work, chances are you’re ready to take a stab at being a CEO.
4. Are you a good communicator?
Success in leadership roles requires understanding how to communicate with individuals from all walks of life. Beyer says this question is particularly important to answer because CEOs have to interact with people, regardless of the business they run.
“Even if you don’t have employees, you’ll still have to interact with clients or outside individuals like your accountant,” Beyer points out. “Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is critical to the success of your business. Nothing will get done to the standard you want it to if you don’t know how to communicate.”
5. Do you have thick skin?
Bethany Babcock, CEO and Founder of Foresite Commercial Real Estate, wants you to know entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. You may be criticized often in the role of CEO. You may also go for long periods of time without anyone telling you “good job!” for your hard work. Feedback (or lack thereof) can often be a rude awakening for many would-be CEOs. Babcock says the key to taking on a CEO role is to have thick skin and plenty of confidence. Sometimes you’ll make decisions your supporters will like and sometimes the decisions will be unpopular and have vocal dissidents. Stand by your decisions, and keep moving forward in the direction of your dreams.
6. Are you able to unplug?
You may be prepping to work the hardest you ever have in your life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a work-life balance for yourself. You have to find simple ways to relieve stress, like taking a yoga class or going for a run, and designate times to unplugging from email and work each week. Doing this will allow you to come back refreshed and ready to take on the next task — all key for success as a CEO!