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Are You the CEO of Your Life?

Are you running your own life, or is it running you?

Key points

  • This is not a path for the timid, but those who brave it can reap great rewards and peace of mind.

Managing your life can be challenging, especially when you let other people run it; some will try to be the boss of you. Perhaps it’s time to look at how you can become the CEO of your own life. This is about being your own boss, which means being in charge of your own life. It doesn’t mean being the boss of your personal relationships or, for that matter, being the boss at work.

Figuring out how to manage your own life is not something most people think about. Most people are too busy running around doing what needs to be done. Sometimes you may be extremely efficient and sometimes life may be drudgery with a dash of boredom and a bunch of mishaps thrown in. The latter days happen more than any of us would like.

Keeping it all in order may be as much of an emotional challenge as a practical one. Here are some tools that can help you keep your daily challenges balanced and more manageable. This will help to put you in charge.

  • Research shows that people who have a sense of purpose and meaning in life are happier and more fulfilled, according to The Journal of Counseling Psychology meaning in life questionnaire (2006).
  • Make a to-do list. Lists don’t have to be long and involved, but they need to be done. The most successful and balanced people I know and have worked with make a list of what they have to do every day, because life changes every day. And this simple exercise that takes only five minutes can save you hours of wasted time while wondering what to do next. Hint: After you write your list, reread it twice.
  • Put your list on hold if an opportunity or a crisis arises. Follow through on the opportunity or do whatever needs to be done to deal with the crisis, and then return to your list. If overtaken by the unexpected, you can save your to-do list for the end of the day. Accomplishing and checking off items on the list is more interesting and fulfilling than watching television. Personally, I do whatever I need to do while sitting on the couch next to my wife as she reads her blogs. This way we can stay close and connected, even though we are both doing our own thing.
  • Get counseling before (or after) making a life-altering move. Making big changes in your world is bound to be stressful, and you want to make wise decisions, so it’s fine to ask for help, which could come from a friend with some knowledge in this area. Or invite an expert or professional out for lunch and interview them. There’s no harm in asking, “What would you do if…?” Or look into finding a business mentor through SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives).
  • Do your own investing and don’t live beyond your means. If you really do need investment advice, talk to your accountant. Once you trust your own ability to invest and your money is making money, you will feel much more empowered. You probably won’t become Warren Buffett, but you will be a stronger person, and it feels great to create a safety net for your family.

Being in charge of your own life is just a dream for most people. This is not a path for the timid, but those who brave it can reap real rewards and peace of mind.


Steger, M. F., Frazier, P., Oishi, S., & Kaler, M. (2006). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53(1), 80-93.

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