Establishing Boundaries as a CEO

CEO Work Portfolio Charles Pfeffer

Being CEO and thriving in the role means saying “No.” The word “No” establishes a boundary: “This, not that.” Strategy is about “this, not that.” Culture is about “this, not that.” Your values are about “this, not that.” Your life purpose is about “this, not that.” And your calendar should be about “this, not that.” Boundaries are choices you make based on contexts you have created. They protect your energy for what you say is most purposeful and most important. They protect your relationships from inauthenticity, force, manipulation, and sham. They protect your strategy from dissipation, and they protect your purpose from cynicism and resignation.

If your calendar feels like someone else is trying to run your life, it’s probably because a lot of people are. It’s vital that you say “No” and take back the authorship of your life and your work within that life. This creates conflict, which must be managed. If your work serves your life purpose, you owe it to your own aliveness to do this. If your work does not serve your life’s purpose, you owe it both to yourself and your organization to step aside. If you are not yet clear about your life purpose, join the club. Knowing is not as important as discovering. Your job in life is not CEO. It’s being human. What can you become, and what can you contribute if you pursue the role of CEO as a vehicle for discovering the fullest expression of your humanity? 

This is an excerpt from The CEO Work Portfolio: How to Regain Agency and Autonomy of Your Life and Work.