Reclaiming CEO: It’s Time for a New Definition

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What does it mean to be the CEO of your business? You know the old cliche... isn’t a CEO traditionally a stuffy, old, white man, dressed in a suit and tie and sitting in that corner office everyone vies for?

For too long, this has been the image of what a CEO is and should be — an Ivy League-educated, white man. But as business itself evolves in this new era of online entrepreneurs, so does the need for a more diverse set of leaders.

It’s time for a new wave of women to reclaim the title of CEO.

I’ll add the caveat that: yes, those men may have led (and do still lead) successful businesses, but the definition of success is changing.

The world of business itself is changing — it’s no longer about profit at any expense, cutting costs each year in order to make shareholders happy.

No. Today’s businesses — the kind that you and I are raising up — are simply about profit that does good. Profit for the sake of world change. Profit not for profit’s sake, but profit for the sake of bringing about more good.

Business is now about impact, and it’s time for a new perspective.

What does being CEO really mean today?

If we aren’t just in it for the money (but let’s all agree that money and financial freedom is nice), then what does it truly mean to be the CEO of your business in 2019?

It means being a leader among humans, showing others the way forward. It means being a visionary, a dreamer, and a way-maker, not only creating financial peace for yourself but opening up doors for others to derive prosperity.

It means listening, hearing, seeing opportunities, and capitalizing on the possibilities, hand in hand with other women as a force for good that changes the world.

Sometimes it means trading our corner offices for coffee shops and laptops, putting our heads down and doing the tough work alongside team members.

To be the CEO of your business is not just owning a high-ranking title — it’s a responsibility to work for and live up to as well as an opportunity.

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It means casting a vision and inspiring the hearts of our teams, our clients, our families and friends, and it means rising up to the challenge and responsibility of helping others see the possibility of what could be.

To be the CEO of your business is not just owning a high-ranking title — it’s a responsibility to work for and live up to as well as an opportunity.

Alright, tell me what you’re thinking...

But I’m too young to be CEO. Yes, being young may mean you have less education and experience, but there are plenty of opportunities that come with your age.

With youth comes a sharp mind and the agility to keep up with new technology and market evolution. You have energy and a boldness that hasn’t been damaged by major failures, meaning you aren’t going to wait for opportunities to stop by and knock on your door.

You’re going to chase them down, take bigger risks, and you have the opportunity to be molded from your failures.

But I’m a woman. In 2018, less than 5% of Fortune 500 businesses were led by women. It’s harder to get anywhere in the business world as a woman. Heck, when has it not been hard for women to get anywhere, do anything in this world? Women lead with heart, brilliance, and a drive to raise others up with them, and if it’s true that we’re stronger together, how can we not change the world of business for good?

But I don’t look like a CEO. It’s not enough to have more women CEOs. We need diversity in the leadership of companies in order to make the impact this world needs.

Diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, physical ability, and more — this is what we need. Diversity is an asset to a business, a crucial foundational component. Diversity makes us more empathetic. It shapes the way we think, interact, and communicate, and it offers us different perspectives that deepen our capacity for creativity and problem solving.

People that have experienced oppression and marginalization deserve a place at the table, and it’s about damn time that we have a diverse group of leaders moving us forward.

But I don’t have the education of a CEO. Oh, so you didn’t go to Harvard Business School? Look around this online space and tell me who did. Listen, education is education and learning is learning — it is valuable no matter where it was obtained. What is the measure of a degree?

Success is determined by output, impact, effort, and strategy, not the name of the school you attended. While I will NEVER discount a good traditional education, that isn’t always a qualifier of success. Real world education is just as valuable. Doing the thing, taking risks, and learning as you go.

There’s a whole new class of CEOs rising up — are you one of them?

Take a step as CEO:

Take a moment to journal about what being the CEO of your business means to you. What opportunities does it afford you? What responsibilities will you need to rise to? What excites you about this path you are on, and who are you eager to impact for good?

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