You started a business for the freedom, flexibility, and income potential that only comes with being an entrepreneur. But you can only enjoy all of that to its full potential once you step into your role as CEO.
Shifting from an employee to a CEO requires you to change the way you think, address problems, and make decisions. This doesn’t come naturally to most people though, because we’re living in a society built for employers and employees – not entrepreneurs.
In today’s episode, I’m going to talk more about why it’s important to shift from an employee mindset to a CEO mindset. I’ll go over the difference between the two and give you three ways you can start to change your thoughts and actions to get the results you’re looking for.
You’ll walk away from this episode with some insight into how your thoughts and actions may be reminiscent of an employee mindset and actionable ways to start shifting into a CEO mindset.
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014. How to Think Like a CEO Instead of an Employee
[0:58] Okay raise your hand if you've ever worked for someone else before unless you're driving or holding a baby. in that case please don't raise your hand I'll just go ahead and count you in because my bet is that you have worked for someone else before whether you've worked retail or corporate whether you were a teacher or a salesperson most entrepreneurs have held a traditional job where they were employed by another person or company at some point in their lives. And my bet is that when you started your business you were looking at your traditional job whether you're full-time in your business right now or maybe you're still working that traditional job and your business simultaneously my bet is that you looked at that traditional job and you saw a gap. A hole where something you wanted in your life was missing. It could have been money, could have been time, could have been a sense of meaning or a sense of peace and I would be willing to bet that when you started your business you were aiming to fill that Gap. To make more money than you are able to do at that traditional job to reclaim some of your precious time to feel a sense of Pride and meaning in your work or to find more peace in your life.
[2:14] But making that shift from employee to CEO isn't always easy it requires you to change the way that you think shift the way that you approach problems to shift the way that you make decisions and think about things and to change the way that you keep yourself motivated as you're taking action within your business and in everything that you do. So today we're going to talk about what an employee mindset looks like verses that CEO mindset and then we're also going to dig into three ways that you can actually shift out of those lingering employee thought processes and into the mindset of a CEO.
[2:57] Alright so first up let's take a look at what does an employee mindset look like so an employee mindset or if you're working from an employee mindset.
[3:07] You're most likely feeling like you need someone to give you a step-by-step plan you're looking for someone to tell you hey here are the steps that you need to take to get X y&z result. This stems from exactly what we normally do in an employment situation where we're working for someone else we are there. To take action on somebody else's goals somebody else's objective so quite literally we're being told this is what we need here's how you're going to do it and so it's very very common if you're working from an employee mindset that you will often look for someone else to give you a step-by-step plan to give you a roadmap to tell you if you're trying to do this then you have to do that if you're trying to that then you have to do this and so that can really become Troublesome when you're in CEO role or a business owner role whatever you want to call it because there is nobody to give you that plan you are that person.
[4:10] Now the next sign of an employee mindset is that an employee reacts to their circumstances. So instead of planning ahead. Instead of creating opportunities for themselves they're just making decisions based on where they happen to be in that moment. This can show up in a lot of different ways so you might be doing this if you don't do a marketing plan every year if instead of planning out what your promotions and sales and marketing is going to be for the year or even just a couple of months at a time instead of planning ahead at all. If you're making those decisions on the Fly maybe a week ahead or in the moment then you may be working from an employee mindset this stems from in an employment situation not necessarily having control over what's coming up but always having somebody telling you hey this is what we're going to be doing this is what we're going to be working on here are the goals that we have when you always have somebody else telling you this is what we're doing you don't need to plan for it we've got this covered then it's really hard to develop the habit of planning ahead of getting prepared ahead of time and you fall into that habit of reacting to your circumstances of making decisions on the Fly instead of preparing beforehand.
[5:35] Someone who's working from an employee mindset will also often react with panic when things are not fast or easy or simple. When they're hit with a learning curve when they have to do something that they don't know how to do and it's going to take time and energy and effort to get it done they don't want to do it they step back and they look for another way out.
[5:58] So somebody who's working from that employee mindset could find themselves in a circumstance where maybe they sign up for a course and then they realize oh my gosh I didn't know how much work this was going to be I don't want to do it or maybe they sign up for a new app or some type of software to use in their business and then they realized that they don't instantly know how to use it without taking the time to learn and they immediately quit and decide they're not going to use it it's not worth their time. And finally when someone's working from an employee mindset and they need help. The questions that they ask will often be very general and nonspecific very surface level questions very shallow questions that don't have a lot of information to go along with them. Often these questions are actually really hard to answer because they just don't have one answer they usually have multiple answers or require a lot of follow-up questions they really make the person who's trying to help work hard in order to be able to help.
[7:04] Now on the flip side we have the CEO mindset so let's take a look at what that's like so someone who is working from a CEO mindset makes their own plan they're not waiting for someone else to tell them what to do they're going in their diving in and they're figuring it out for themselves that doesn't mean that they're not getting help along the way it doesn't mean that they aren't. Going and learning from other people who have been in their shoes or watching what others are doing to learn from their mistakes or successes but it does mean that the overall plan is coming from them it's coming from their brain and they're not relying on someone else to tell them if you want this result then you need to do this if you want that you have to do this. Someone who's working from a CEO mindset will not be held back when they don't have someone else telling them what to do where is someone who's working from an employee mindset will be held back the second they don't have somebody holding their hand II they don't have someone offering them a roadmap or telling them what steps comes next which step to take first what foot to put in front of the other.
[8:11] And somebody who's working from a CEO mindset is really creating their own opportunities; they're not being held back by a lack of a plan because they're creating their own plan. And they are also not reacting to their circumstances; they're deciding what circumstances they're going to be in. They're doing this by making a marketing plan by knowing what's coming up. I'm making decisions that are strategic for their business they're not waiting around looking for someone else tell them what's coming up they're not sitting there in the moment saying G is what should I do today what should I post on social media what email should I send out instead they know they have a plan and they are executing it. And that doesn't mean that there is no room for figuring it out in the moment it just means that most of the time they're not reacting to their circumstances they are creating the circumstances that they end up in in the first place and so even when they are working in a little bit of a reactionary state. They are in that circumstance because they put themselves there it's not by accident and it's not by chance it's by choice and it's by action.
[9:23] And beyond that when faced with a learning curve when learning something new and trying out a new skill or tool or software someone who's working from a CEO mindset keeps their cool they don't get freaked out by having to learn something new it doesn't totally derail their day when they realize that learning something is going to take longer than they expected or wanted or hoped they're not there for a shortcut. They have a bigger purpose than that this doesn't mean that they don't enjoy a tool that can help them work faster it doesn't mean that they don't appreciate anything that can help them get results a little bit quicker but they're not out there expecting and searching for shortcuts they're willing to do the work and just be fully present for the learning curve to just dive in and get it done.
[10:17] And finally a CEO or somebody who's working from a CEO mindset. Is asking questions that are detailed and specific they know the road they're trying to take they have a clear Vision of the result they're trying to get and so they don't need to let somebody else pick apart their question to figure out what they actually want they know and they're asking the kinds of questions that get them answers.
[10:45] Really to sum it all up a CEO is self-reliant solution-oriented and they're focused on learning and growth while an employee mindset is reactive and dependent and focused on achieving not growing.
[11:01] So now let's talk about the shift. Let's talk about how you go from living in that employee World from being an employee. To Shifting the way that your brain works and the way that you think in the way that you approach things so that you can fully Embrace that CEO mindset that's going to help you grow your business and get the results that you're looking for.
[11:23] So the first thing that you can do to shift from an employee mindset to a CEO mindset is to be self-reliant when you run a business from a place of dependency you're always going to wait for someone else to do that is first and foremost incredibly time-consuming because you're working on someone else's clock instead of getting that time back that you were hoping to get by owning your own business instead of gaining that freedom and flexibility that so many people are looking for when they start a business. You are putting yourself on someone else's schedule so the first thing you need to do is you've got to stop.
[12:02] For someone else to hand you the tools to tell you what to do. Because when you do that you're really not running a business you're just reacting to the circumstances that you happen to find yourself in instead of looking for a road map or a cheat sheet or someone else's directions just do something just.
[12:21] Find something and do it try something test things see what works you don't have to know the exact steps that worked for someone else because. Honestly they're kind of arbitrary for your business anyway you will never be able to fully replicate The Perfect Storm of scenarios and circumstances and things that were going on in that other person's life. To be able to recreate them in yours there's just too much that goes into it and so instead of waiting for somebody else to tell you what they did or give you the best practices or tell you what to do just take a look at your business where you're at take a look at what you're trying to do and then just pick something and try it it doesn't matter what just move it won't be perfect it'll never be perfect there's just no such thing but an object in motion stays in motion so start moving start testing things start trying things and pay attention to what happens soon you'll be able to analyze this data that you're collecting all the information that you get every time you try something what works what doesn't work you'll be able to look at that and say okay I've learned something and you'll be able to forge your own path based on real data for your business and anytime you can make decisions based on your own data instead of someone else's.
[13:48] Going to get better results because it's specific and unique to you it's exactly what you need instead of trying to walk down someone else's path.
[13:57] Instead of trying to take someone else's ideas and actions and mold them to fit into your business.
[14:04] The next thing that you can do to shift from that employee mindset into a CEO mindset is to start asking questions that actually have answers I know like don't all questions have answers that's kind of the nature of questions well no they actually don't you see when a person who's working from an employee mindset asks a question they're asking surface-level questions they're very general because the person who's asking really doesn't know what they need they don't see how to go from point A to point Z and need just the letters in between and so they're not asking questions that are specific to their journey and what they're trying to do they're just asking general questions that roughly relate to whatever the situation is so it might be business of course and so they're just asking a question that roughly relates to business they're putting the responsibility on the person they're talking to to actually figure out what they really need what they're really trying to ask so here's an example because I know that that was maybe a little bit confusing or unclear so. An example how do I Market my business.
[15:14] This question is impossible to answer it's a surface level question it forces the person that you're asking the person that you're talking to to have to guess what you actually want and what you actually mean or even ask questions in order to pull it out of you to really get you to give them more information to give them more context and they shouldn't have to ask those questions. They shouldn't have to ask in what way do you want to Market your business email social media in person they shouldn't have to clarify that. You should be coming to the table knowing what you're looking for. If you're coming to the conversation not knowing exactly what you're trying to get out of the questions you're asking then it's time to take a moment to step back and look at that question because you might need to do some research or digging or thinking before you move forward with calling in the troops and asking for help this all isn't to say that you can't ask questions about marketing your business. But you need to do the work up front and know what marketing your business means so that you can ask more specific targeted questions that are easier to answer that actually have an answer.
[16:24] Because when you ask questions that are surface level when you ask these general questions that. Are really difficult to answer that requires so much follow up in order to get enough context to understand what you're really asking you're going to get answers that are just as general and that means that they're going to be really hard to take action on so you're probably going to leave that conversation disappointed. So if you're asking general questions expect a really General answer in return but if you're asking specific targeted questions. Then you should expect specific targeted actionable answers in return.
[17:01] Before you move forward with asking a question use your resources there are so many available you can go on YouTube you can go on podcasts and listen to podcasts you can take a course you can read a book you can go on Google which is like the know-it-all you can go read blog post. Do your research before you make your problem someone else's problem this also means that if you're using a new app or software you do your due diligence to use the resources that are provided to you to learn how to use it it means that before you go in email customer support look for a support center or an FAQ instead of making their customer service team Google it for you. If you're finding that whenever you ask questions to a software company maybe you needed to ask a question about your project management software and you email them and you ask your question and they send you their help article in return that means that you had an opportunity to solve that problem yourself without making them get involved.
[18:06] So just be cognizant and mindful of moments like that when you're asking for help and somebody gives you a resource to help you that's readily available and would have been very simple to find with a quick Google search or a few clicks.
[18:20] CEO recognizes how valuable time is. Everybody that's involved not just themselves not just their own time and so they are not going to waste somebody's time if they don't need to. They're going to make sure that they're using their resources they're answering their own questions when possible and then when they do have questions when they do ask questions they're asking questions that are specific they're giving plenty of contact so it's easy to know how to answer so that nobody has to worry about trying to dig deeper and figure out what their tracks really trying to ask. They're being mindful with their own time but they're also being really mindful of the time being used for the people that are involved for the person that they're asking their question to.
[19:05] And when they ask a question it's so that they receive an answer that's actionable not General they're making sure that they're really setting themselves up for success by asking the right questions by being really aware of what they're looking for and what result they're trying to get and then asking the questions that are going to deliver that.
[19:27] So you can start to make this shift by answering your own surface level questions because surface level questions have readily available surface-level answers almost anywhere YouTube Google you name it they're out there and by doing the research and learning about the topic first you can then come up with more specific questions so instead of asking how do I Market my business you can ask how do I create an email nurture sequence what social media platforms should I focus on right now. What's the first step that I should take if I want to use YouTube to Market my business. These questions are all really specific and they lead to a Defined actionable answer. They're respectful of the time of not only the person you're asking but yours as well because you're going to get an answer much more quickly and an answer that is much more specific to what you actually need. The type of answer that's actually going to get you results. And finally the third way that you can shift from an employee mindset to a CEO mindset is to embrace learning curves and stop looking for short.
[20:38] Biggest Telltale sign of someone who is acting like an employee and not acting like a CEO is when they hit a learning curve and they immediately panic or worse just give up on whatever it is all together. And this can really happen anywhere whether you're using a new app to edit your social media posts or maybe you're learning a new marketing strategy that you want to bring into play or you're getting to know a new sales technique that someone shared with you. Whatever it is when you start learning it there will be a learning curve. So if you went into it not expecting one and then it hits you if you're giving up if you're saying oh my gosh I don't have time for this like I'm not going to bother. That is probably your employee mindset talking because the truth is there's no such thing as a shortcut and even when there is a short cut it just leads to a different learning curve. So it just means that you're skipping one part now so that you can get to another that you're going to have to learn and it's great that you got to skip that one part but if you're not planning to still hit another learning curve you're just going to end up disappointed because learning curves don't go away as your business grows.
[21:52] They say new levels new devils. People who expect all their problems to suddenly disappear when they have more money or when they get past this one hurdle have not stepped into that CEO mindset yet as your business grows and expands. The things that you have to learn are also going to grow and expand your going to move past whatever your current hurdle is yes you're going to move past whatever your current learning curve is yes. But you're just going to reach a new one and the moment you stop having learning curves or stop finding new things that you have to learn about that is the moment that your business stops growing so if you finally reach that moment it might not be the peak that you're looking for it might in fact be a plateau.
[22:42] So if you want to shift from that employee mindset into the CEO mindset stop looking for ways to avoid the work and instead keep your cool buckle down and start learning the sooner you embrace the learning curves ahead of you the sooner you'll fly by them and get the results that you're working towards if you're finding yourself disappointed that you didn't get a shortcut when you were hoping for one that it's time to manage your expectations learning curves are normal be ready for more of them not less as you level up.
[23:18] Now this episode was full of bitter pills to swallow because the truth is almost everyone has some lingering employee mindset that they need to overcome including myself. And it makes sense our society was literally built for employees not entrepreneurs. Our entire lives for most of us we were brought up with the assumption that we would eventually work for somebody else that we would spend the rest of our lives serving somebody else's vision as an entrepreneur you're most likely going to constantly work to shift from that employee mindset to CEO mindset and step into that role as a leader whether it's just a team of you or a team of 10 so let's go ahead and do a quick recap. Someone who is working from an employee mindset needs somebody to give them a step-by-step plan; they're reacting to their circumstances they panic. When things aren't fast or easy and when they ask questions those questions are very general and nonspecific.
[24:21] But somebody who's working from a CEO mindset makes their own plan. They are not waiting for someone else to tell them what to do, they're creating their own opportunities. They keep their cool when they're faced with a learning curve and when they asked questions those questions have context and they are both detailed and specific.
[24:42] And here are the three ways that you can start to make a shift into that CEO mindset first be self-reliant don't wait for someone else to tell you what to do make a plan and follow through on it it won't be perfect ever but in object in motion stays in motion so start moving then you can ask better questions. Before asking for help, try to find an answer look for a support center for that app check YouTube for a tutorial on that new skill. When you have a question be specific. Don't make people work to help you remember you're the one that benefits from asking for help so don't make it hard for people to help you or they won't.
[25:27] And finally get comfortable with learning curves. Next time you're starting to learn a new skill or piece of software keep your cool buckle down and start learning. There's no such thing as a shortcut so if you're finding yourself disappointed that you didn't get one then it's time to manage your expectations. Learning curves are normal so be ready for more not less as you level up your business. I hope that today you were able to identify thoughts and actions in yourself that are reminiscent of an employee and that you now know how you can begin shifting into the CEO that you have the power to be. And if you enjoyed this episode or you had an aha moment while you were listening I would absolutely love if you would share it to your Instagram stories and tag me at anchor design Co and if you have 10 seconds available it would mean the absolute world if you take a moment to leave a rating and review on iTunes your feedback helps me know what kind of content you want me to create so I'm always listening for your thoughts and that way I can bring you actionable tactical episodes that you can use to truly build a business that lasts a lifetime.
[26:42] Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm so excited to come back next week with another brand new episode so I'll see you back here at same time same place five for now.
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Short & sweet episode highlights
Why it’s important for entrepreneurs like you to shift from an employee mindset to CEO mindset
How an employee thinks and acts differently from a CEO and why it matters
Three simple ways you can begin to fully embrace the CEO mindset to grow your business
Why it’s important to work on becoming self-reliant as an entrepreneur
How to ask the kinds of questions that get you helpful, actionable answers
Why you need to change your expectations and thoughts about learning curves
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