Every once in a while a book comes along and changes my worldview, and ‘CEO of Yourself: Getting Down to the Business of Your More Rewarding Life’, penned by Bart Jackson is one of those books. For those just starting out, the seasoned executive, and everyone in between this book provides innovative methods that can help them meet, and exceed their life goals, and increase their happiness level. That is the beauty of the ‘CEO of Yourself’, which may well be why it has caused a stir in the business world and the literary scene. Recently Bart sat down with me so I could find out more about this amazing read.
Bart, you’re last several books, and of course your radio show have been about business – Now you’ve penned ‘CEO of Yourself’, what inspired this one? Isn’t it a departure from strictly business?
Your right, Mike this one is more personal. But for years I had been doing a little segment on our The Art of the CEO radio show in which I said “That the good lord has given you the title and privileges of CEO of Yourself.. and that’s the most important position you will ever hold in your career.” Folks loved this discussion point. They all wanted more out of their lives, and didn’t seem to be getting it.
So what did they want?
Well actually Mike we surveyed literally thousands of folks in all states of life, asking just that. They wanted real, back-slapping friends – respect and promotion at work – exotic adventure – but my favorite – the one that wrapped it all up – came from one gentleman who responded, “I want to wake up happy…spontaneously singing loud, bellowsome tones in the shower that will make my teenage daughter blush crimson with embarrassment.”
I wish him well. But what exactly do you mean by ‘CEO of Yourself,’ and how does it bring about this more rewarding life?
Well the truth is Mike that most business folks, like all the C-suiters I know, handle their business leadership positions masterfully. They enter their workplace with a solid vision – they scrutinize each situation – they assess their assets – they see all the decisions, and hunt up the opportunities – then they select a path and enlist all the right people to bring that opportunity to fruition. In short, they act as the chief executing officer within their realm.
Yet, here’s the sad part – and what really inspired me to write this book. At the end of the workday, so many of them dump all that powerful self-mastery model in the desk drawer and head for home. They face their own lives not with a vision – but with a wishful fantasy. They see days stacked with obligations and directives from others. And they’re not making those decisions that would guide them toward fulfillment, partially because they don’t see a life filled with choices, and partially because they don’t see those choices as theirs to make. So they fall into default mode.
All throughout ‘CEO of Yourself’, you talk about creating the Enterprise of You. What do you mean by that, and how do you get this self startup started?
By viewing yourself as an enterprise, I’m simply asking you to launch into realizing the person you want to be, and set that person creating the life you want to live. The same way you would lay vision and plans for a company to create a product. You and your life are an enterprise actively governed along the course you have designed and choose. And the launching part of this self startup is the most fun – and the most neglected: you walk around your warehouse and take count of all your individual assets: Your strengths, interests, friends, associates, and emotions – all of it.
Take you, for instance, Mike. If I were recording Mike Beas’ assets, I’d include your concept strength – your ability to distill a situation and present it in understandable segments. Of course, I add your skills at ferreting out opportunities…your broad network of friends. But I’d definitely include one asset that you’d probably neglect: your emotional stance – you view life with humor and with quiet competence – you have that calm confidence of a Christian with four aces. We all have a lot more assets than we tend to count, and you need to discover those assets if you are to employ them toward your vision.
‘CEO of Yourself’ sets forth an entire program for self fulfillment and an enriched life, from your first vision and attitudes to enlisting aid from others. Can you distill it for us? What’s your real message with this book?
I’ll give you three of them, Mike.
#1 – You already have all you need. You – just as you are – are capable of seizing that enriched, joyful life you’re dreaming about. This isn’t a makeover book because you don’t need to make yourself over. Your marvelous self possesses tools, principles, and personal power in abundance. It is my fervent wish that each reader sees these tools, and employs them with a grin and gusto.
#2 – You are the sole best expert on what you desire in life. You – no one else – are the one to craft your dynamic vision. You cannot control the hand Fate deals you, but within those circumstances You are the master of your attitudes, actions, and decisions.
#3 – Oh, for god’s sakes have fun – lots of fun. If you’re not having fun, and you’re not waking up to a spark of spontaneous enthusiasm, well, change it Mr. CEO – change your situation and/or give your marvelous self an attitude adjustment – make it so.
Even this distillation has a lot of parts, Bart. Could I further distill it and say that you just telling folks to follow their passion?
Bart: Oh heavens no, Mike. I tried following my passion once, but then I found it was illegal in 47 states. “Follow your passion” is like telling a competitive weightlifter to “Just be strong.” ‘CEO of Yourself’ aims at setting out an entire training table for your personal fulfillment. And since you are CEO who knows what’s best for you, you simply select from each offering in this book the ones that are valuable to you.
You keep insisting, Bart, that others are forever trying to take away your decision-making mastery, in ways that serve their agendas, not yours. In fact, you have an entire chapter about the “Beggars at Your Door.” Who are these beggars?
They are the subtle soul solicitors who want a piece of you, because their survival depends on your obedience. Today, the average American will be assaulted by 3,000 persuasive messages urging him to vote this way, believe in this faith, work harder for the company’s profits, buy this car, or put this deodorant under your arms. Each one desperately seeks your cash, allegiance, or even your soul. They are begging you to decide in their interest. Trouble is, they typically don’t come on like beggars, but they present themselves as a grand authority, that you would be stupid or evil not to obey. They develop salvation myths: “You need this to be a good patriot, to achieve respect, to find romance.”
This attempt to win your decision, in one sense, makes them competition, even the enemy. Yet the good news is that you are the CEO of you. You may give them your cash or allegiance, but they cannot take it from you. And like any good chief executive, you will hunt through their offerings, select the pieces that benefit you the best, and discard the chaff. As with any competition, partial partnerships are always an option.
Bart, you write about the importance of developing personal principles when creating the Enterprise of You. But you insist that every life principle must bring benefit to you. Isn’t that kind of selfish?
Each of us needs to forge personal beliefs – principles that we use to guide our actions. As life comes racing at you, if you already have this core of beliefs, you can handle it swiftly. You’ve got a grounding to help you decide your course. ‘Tis vital for your business and your life. You may have worked out the belief that each individual you encounter deserves a basic respect, or that each person deserves the maximum opportunity for the pursuit of happiness. All I am asking is that as you form these beliefs, be sure to see how they bring you personally some benefit. To follow a creed only because Dad, the President, Christ, or some other authority says so isn’t good enough. You’ve got to personally believe it and envision the reward. If you labor under some principle that demands only a sacrifice of you with nothing in return, you’ll either abandon it quickly or grind along joylessly, spiraling into bitterness.
You can find out more about Bart Jackson on his website.
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