The CEO Mantra

Chuck Norris Action Jeans
No, not “What would Chuck do… “

What’s the CEO mantra? It’s a chant in your head asking,”WWCD?” What would a CEO do?

It came into being over cocktails with a girlfriend, who was contemplating a new job opportunity. It was an advanced position out of her comfort zone, and even though she was qualified, she feared taking the job because she felt like she’d be “faking her way through.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentiment from people, particularly women (myself included). A choked-up Amy Cuddy even spoke about this demon in her insightful TED Talk on body language.

This led us to discussing the commonality between all the CEOs we’ve known. It wasn’t their training, experience, personality, or even luck (though all of those certainly did come into play). It was their ability to act and inspire action. They weren’t immobilized by contemplation or fear. As my husband calls it, they’re “actioneers.”

So, we mused over our martinis, what if we just started thinking like CEOs. Would that be enough to make it happen?

It’s not as silly as it sounds. A recent Business Week article found “the link between believing and succeeding incredibly powerful and real” and that “the best innovators are learners, not knowers.”

Despite our tendencies to believe otherwise, the article revealed that successful people simply “seek out things they don’t understand and jump right into the deep end of the pool.”

They must fail fearlessly and quickly and then learn and share their lessons with the team. When they behave this way, they empower others around them to follow suit.

See? That’s actioneering at its finest.

But the problem is fear. (Isn’t it always?) What if we simply believed in what we wanted to do and (heaven forbid) did it, damn the consequences?

Harder than it sounds, right? Here are some tips from master actioneer Benjamin Franklin:

  • “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”
  • “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”
  • “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”
  • “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

So the next time a tempting goal is in reach, don’t listen to the fear. Hear this cheer: “WWCD?”

Then go do it.

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” ~Henry Ford

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