Becoming an Entrepreneur in Your Own Life


Carving out time to invest in yourself, devoting that time to learn and put to practice the wisdom of coaches will improve your life as well as your performance as a leader. It is more than situational problem-solving.


The best books on leadership stress that the job of the CEO is self-development as well as development of the organization. And my decades of experience are replete with instances in which CEO client self-development often has an unintended consequence: improving family dynamics.


Each year, multiple sources help me develop myself as a coach and I share what I learn with my clients and peers. In a future post, I will relay the most important discoveries from our Vistage worldwide chair conference. Here, I share the thoughts of renowned master coach Tony Smith, speaking to a group of HBS alumni entrepreneurs.

Distinguishing between those who will “eat what has been served,” living in a familiar environment from those who will create their own environment, their own future, here are my notes on the gist of the discussion: (I was surprised how useful his discussion guide was despite its being rudimentary for me and probably for you).

1.    The #1 enemy of creating your own life and your own company is busyness. The urgent displaces the most important.

2.    No future is possible unless and until you imagine it and write it down

It must be clear, written, output of a conscious and unconscious effort and future-focused

3.    Most people live in deploying their knowledge to manage risk; entrepreneurs create something and live at risk; the first live close to the past, the latter live in the future

4.    Any business or job worth doing starts with three forces for engagement: the value to the user/the message, the user profile and the methods of outreach to the user; most highly educated people are not good at the third

5.    What does it take to create your own future?

Time, practice, constructive feedback and commitment to a specific future

6.    Everyone needs a place and time to clear the mind, re-invent and confront demons

7.    There is always constructive tension between reality and a vision; the tension is what creates energy. Most people’s future is missing from their daily thinking.

8.    Networking is crucial to all of the above; and having a personal board of directors. And keeping in touch

9.    To all entrepreneurs: don’t let circumstances call the shots

10. The world belongs to those who follow up (amazing how few do it and do it with intention and regularity)


Vistage: the world’s largest CEO membership organization

Tony Smith, coach:

If you want a few terrific books to read, contact me.

 That’s just my view. What’s yours?





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What Made jack welch JACK WELCH

How Ordinary People Become
Extraordinary Leaders

by Stephen H. Baum (Random House)

Most leaders of American companies started out as ordinary people. What prepared them for the top job?

Countless more ordinary people of equal talent never developed the leadership core required to run the show. Why not?

"Lessons for life about the core leadership traits of character, risk taking decisiveness and the ability to engage and inspire followers."
--Jim Clifton, CEO, The Gallup Organization


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