Can you be a happy CEO #wartime Ep 134



In a candid reflection on the perpetual challenges of entrepreneurship, the host explores the misconception that success and growth alleviate stress and anxiety. Drawing from personal experience and conversations with fellow entrepreneurs like Sean Finter, the host underscores that the pursuit of growth inherently brings discomfort, with each milestone leading to more complex problems rather than contentment. The host shares the struggles of managing a large team, legal compliance, customer expectations, and the emotional toll of criticism, emphasizing the importance of mental resilience and the acceptance that the journey is fraught with difficulties that do not subside with increased revenue or business size. Despite not offering a definitive solution to being a "happy CEO," the host reveals the relentless nature of the entrepreneurial path and encourages solidarity among business owners facing similar trials.

Summary Notes

Personal Reflections on Entrepreneurship

  • The speaker shares personal experiences and reflections on the entrepreneurial journey.
  • There is a realization that previously set business milestones lose their allure as they are approached or achieved.
  • The speaker discusses the persistent stress and anxiety that accompany running a business.
  • The idea is presented that entrepreneurs may be uniquely equipped to handle the stress of business due to their past experiences.

"So for those of you, this one is not going to be a tactical one in terms of how to make more money with your gym, but it may be something that just might make you, I don't know, feel less alone."

This quote sets the tone for the podcast, indicating that the focus will be on the emotional aspects of entrepreneurship rather than practical business advice.

"And what's interesting is that as you approach those things, then the actual goal that you previously set, once you get close to 405 and you actually deadlift 395, 405 actually doesn't seem that sexy anymore."

The speaker uses an analogy to weightlifting to describe how business goals can become less exciting as they become more attainable, emphasizing the shifting nature of ambition.

The Never-Ending Discomfort of Growth

  • The speaker emphasizes that the discomfort associated with growing a business never truly ends.
  • It is highlighted that with each new level of success comes a new set of challenges and stresses.
  • The speaker reflects on their own increased discomfort despite the growth and success of their business.

"And so I guess the prerequisite for this is that if you desire to grow, the discomfort does not stop."

This quote underscores the message that growth in business is inherently uncomfortable and that discomfort is a constant companion in the entrepreneurial journey.

"My stress levels now are probably, like, second highest. I would say they're not as high as when I opened the first facility, but they are almost as high."

The speaker shares a personal account of their current stress levels, comparing them to a previous high-stress period, to illustrate the ongoing nature of entrepreneurial stress.

The Illusion of a Final Destination

  • The speaker challenges the common entrepreneurial notion that reaching a certain milestone will bring about a sense of completion or relief.
  • The concept that business growth is a continuous process with no definitive endpoint is explored.
  • The speaker advises against the mindset of waiting for a specific achievement to feel successful or at ease.

"And I think that we have to get out of this. Like, once I hit X, it'll be okay. Once I hit Y, it's going to be okay."

This quote advises entrepreneurs to abandon the belief that there is a final business goal that will bring lasting satisfaction or peace.

Financial Realities and Anxiety

  • The speaker breaks down the financial implications of running a business and how revenue goals translate to potential liabilities.
  • There is an explanation of how high revenue does not equate to security due to the corresponding increase in liabilities.
  • The speaker points out that the anxiety related to financial management in business persists regardless of the level of success.

"But the thing is that if you run a business that has a 20% margin or 30% margin, whatever it is, in order for you to hit the million dollars, you have $700,000 of liabilities."

The quote illustrates the financial pressures that come with scaling a business and how higher revenues can lead to greater liabilities and sustained anxiety.

Emotional Oscillation as a CEO

  • The speaker describes the emotional highs and lows of being a CEO, oscillating between boredom and crisis.
  • The concept that business is a series of problems interspersed with moments of crisis is shared.
  • The speaker reflects on the difficulty of finding happiness in the CEO role due to the constant challenges faced.

"I think rob group, when he was out here, said he's like, business is problems every day punctuated by moments of crisis, which in some ways is really morbid when you think about it."

This quote captures the essence of the daily life of a business owner, marked by ongoing issues and occasional significant crises.

Entrepreneurial Traits and Challenges

  • Entrepreneurs often thrive in chaos due to their backgrounds of overcoming adversity.
  • The comfort in chaos can lead to unnecessary disruptions in business ("break shit").
  • This trait can be both a strength and a downfall for entrepreneurs.

"And that's because a lot of times, a lot of us came from adversity when we started out in life. And in a weird way, we're comfortable in chaos."

This quote underscores the idea that many entrepreneurs have a background of adversity which makes them comfortable in chaotic situations, a trait that can influence their decision-making in business.

The Emotional Struggles of a CEO

  • CEOs can struggle with happiness and stress management.
  • Negative feedback can significantly impact a CEO's emotional state.
  • There is no universal recipe for being a happy CEO; it's a continuous personal struggle.

"I get stressed all the time. I get anxiety all the time. When I read a comment that someone posts that's negative, it'll ruin my day."

This quote reveals the speaker's personal challenges with stress and anxiety, particularly when faced with negative feedback, highlighting the emotional vulnerability of CEOs.

The Law of Large Numbers in Business

  • As a business grows, the number of negative comments or unhappy clients naturally increases.
  • Understanding statistical inevitability helps rationalize negative feedback but doesn't eliminate the emotional impact.

"But the thing is, as the business grows, that percentage is a lot of things. It's a lot of words, it's a lot of things to take, you know what I mean? To hit."

The speaker discusses how the growth of a business amplifies the volume of negative feedback, which can be difficult to handle despite understanding it as a statistical probability.

Growth, Discomfort, and Personal Development

  • Growth requires putting oneself in uncomfortable situations.
  • The need for personal improvement is constant as new levels of performance are required.
  • Entrepreneurs must balance the discomfort of growth with the necessity of personal development.

"And so the level of discomfort that you're going, as long as this is assuming the assumption that you want to grow and growth is your primary thing as a person, you are going to constantly put yourself into these situations that you're not comfortable in because you're not good enough, right?"

This quote addresses the inherent discomfort in growth, emphasizing that entrepreneurs must consistently challenge themselves beyond their current capabilities to improve.

Balancing Responsibility and Emotional Health

  • Entrepreneurs must take responsibility for negative outcomes while also managing their emotional responses.
  • An open heart is necessary to feel and respond to criticism, but it must be balanced with the understanding that not all negativity can be taken personally.

"And so it's this balance of always wanting to maintain the open heart so you can receive these hits, you know what I mean? Because in some ways I feel like I have to feel the hit."

The speaker reflects on the need to be receptive to criticism ("feel the hit") in order to take action, while also maintaining a balance to not be overwhelmed by negativity.

The Bureaucratic Challenges of Scaling a Business

  • Legal and compliance issues increase with business growth, slowing down processes.
  • Entrepreneurs who are accustomed to solving problems quickly may find this shift to be particularly frustrating.

"So the gym launch portal has been 100% redone. I actually finished it six weeks ago, but it had to go through compliance. That's a new thing is that when you get bigger, all of the things that I do now have to go through a legal team and then they send everything back with edits, and then I have to redo everything again."

This quote illustrates the speaker's experience with the new challenges that arise when scaling a business, such as dealing with legal compliance, which can be a time-consuming and emotionally draining process.

Communication with Customers and the Impact on Customer Service

  • The speaker expresses a desire to inform customers about upcoming solutions to their problems.
  • Revealing specifics leads to an overwhelming number of customer service inquiries.
  • This has a negative impact on the customer service team's morale.

"But whenever I give specifics, my customer service director comes to me and she's like, dude, all of our customer service is getting blown up every single day since you made that thing. When is it happening? When is it happening? When is it happening? And she's like, it's killing my team's morale."

The quote illustrates the dilemma faced by the speaker regarding transparency and its unintended consequences on customer service operations.

The Nature of Tough Decisions in Leadership

  • Leadership involves making difficult choices without clear right answers.
  • These decisions create stress and anxiety for the leader.
  • The speaker references Ben Horowitz's book "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" to emphasize the complexity of leadership decisions.

"I think Ben Horowitz wrote the book, the hard thing about hard things is that a lot of the decisions that we have, there's no right answer."

The quote highlights the inherent challenges in leadership decision-making, as discussed by Ben Horowitz in his book.

Personal Growth and Business Expansion

  • The speaker discusses the stress associated with growing a business.
  • Business growth leads to increased responsibilities and team size.
  • The speaker uses personal experience to validate the stress felt by other business owners.
  • Growth is tied to a willingness to be uncomfortable for personal development.

"And there's some gyms in here who know, because they went from a solo operator to a seven person team, you know what I mean? They're like, man, sometimes I feel more stressed out, and I'm like, believe me, I get it."

The quote conveys empathy for other business owners who experience stress as their businesses grow.

Resilience and Endurance in Business

  • The speaker draws an analogy between business and the resilience shown by Navy SEALs.
  • A high percentage of Navy SEAL dropouts choose to leave voluntarily.
  • The path to growth in business is likened to enduring punishment or "growing pains."
  • The speaker encourages business owners to embrace growth despite its challenges.

"And so Dave Goggins got up there and spoke and he was like, 80% of the people who drop out, who sign up to become a Navy SEAL drop out on their own election, they choose to leave."

The quote is used to illustrate the concept of self-selection in challenging situations, drawing a parallel to business growth.

Invitation to Business Owners

  • The speaker extends an invitation to business owners aiming to scale their businesses significantly.
  • A call to action is provided for interested business owners to seek assistance from the speaker's team.

"Mosey Nation, real quick. If you are a business owner that has a big old business and wants to get to a much bigger business, going to 5100 million dollars plus, we would love to talk to you."

This quote serves as a direct invitation to business owners who are looking to grow their businesses and might benefit from the speaker's services.

The Personal Cost of Business Growth

  • The speaker acknowledges the personal discomfort that comes with the desire to grow.
  • Growth requires personal change, which is often uncomfortable.
  • The stress of growth can negatively affect relationships with spouses and employees.
  • The speaker admits to not having a perfect solution for balancing growth and personal happiness.

"And so it's like we self elect to say, like, I want to grow. And then in some ways we're surprised when it's painful, right?"

The quote reflects on the self-imposed decision to grow and the paradox of being surprised by the resulting discomfort.

Challenges of Scaling a Business

  • Scaling a business involves increasingly complex challenges that cannot be handled by one person alone.
  • Leaders must learn to delegate and influence rather than directly control every aspect.
  • It is necessary to accept that some issues will arise and may not be immediately resolvable.
  • Growth requires allowing team members to take ownership and communicate effectively.
  • Leaders must manage their reactions to negative feedback and maintain composure.

"One of the hard things that I have now, just in the current season, is that we are so big that I cannot take the team on my back."

This quote highlights the speaker's realization that as their business has grown, it has become impossible for them to personally handle every issue.

"And so you have to watch things burn and have to fix it from afar, by pulling levers, by influencing people and doing it in a way that allows them to take ownership of those things and communicate those things without being stressed, without being short, without being what you don't want to be, you know what I mean, to those people."

The speaker describes the transition from hands-on problem-solving to leading by influence and delegation, emphasizing the importance of empowering team members.

Personal Accountability and Continuous Improvement

  • Recognizing personal limitations and the need for self-improvement is crucial for a leader.
  • The Sisyphus metaphor reflects the ongoing struggle and feeling of repetitive challenges without progress.
  • The speaker acknowledges their role in the difficulties faced and the necessity to become better.

"It's not circumstance. It's us. You know what I mean? It's me. I have to be better."

This quote underscores the speaker's acceptance of personal responsibility for the challenges faced and their commitment to self-improvement.

"And it feels like Sisyphus who rolls up the boulder on the hill only to get to the top and have it roll down again."

The speaker compares their efforts to the myth of Sisyphus, illustrating the frustration of seemingly endless toil.

Upcoming Projects and Time Management

  • The speaker is currently facing the challenge of completing four massive projects within a month.
  • They describe this period as "wartime," indicating a high-pressure situation that requires intense focus and productivity.
  • An invitation is extended to the audience to join in a 30-day challenge of hard work and life management.

"And right now, I just posted on Instagram that I have basically one month to do four massive projects."

This quote informs the audience about the speaker's current workload and the tight deadline they are under.

"It's wartime. It's like, I have to get all this stuff done, and this has to happen."

The use of "wartime" metaphorically expresses the urgency and critical nature of the projects at hand.

Customer Expectations and Satisfaction

  • The speaker reflects on the nature of human dissatisfaction and the constant need for businesses to improve.
  • They use Amazon's progression from two-day to same-day shipping as an example of escalating customer expectations.
  • The speaker acknowledges that what once was exceptional becomes the new standard over time.
  • Adapting to the evolving expectations of customers is a necessary part of business growth.

"And so I think the reason that we have to get better is because human beings are never satisfied."

This quote addresses the fundamental reason for continuous improvement: the inherent dissatisfaction and evolving expectations of people.

"Your best is no longer good enough because what is required is better than what you are."

The speaker emphasizes that past achievements are quickly overshadowed by new demands, necessitating constant advancement.

Personal Message and Community Engagement

  • The speaker expresses affection for their audience and admits to frequent mistakes and feelings of inadequacy.
  • They highlight the importance of balance and personal growth, acknowledging the pain that often accompanies it.
  • The speaker ends with well-wishes for the audience's weekend and encourages engagement with the content.

"I love you guys. I mess up all the time. I'm constantly inadequate for the needs of our customers, for you guys."

This quote is an expression of humility and connection with the audience, admitting to imperfections and a striving to meet customer needs.

"So anyways, keep being awesome. Thank you for tuning in. Throw a like or a comment if any of this made sense to you, and tag a friend if you want."

In concluding, the speaker encourages audience interaction, showing appreciation for their support and engagement.

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