Peer Advisory & Executive Coaching Blog

Are CEOs Addicts?

Do you remember the first time you inhaled the powerful fumes of making money from your own idea?

jointEarly business success is the gateway drug.  This feeling of enlightenment and total freedom is extremely addictive.  You just know-

"There's way more here.  There are endless possibilities within my reach."

 I remember my first business hit- I was hooked!  There's still no better high!

Every business leader can tell you the story of the first time a customer actually paid them money and how great it made them feel.

Gary "Vee" Vaynerchuk was a 15 year old making thousands of dollars in a weekend trading baseball cards at card shows.

Bill Gates was 17 when he formed his first venture to program a computer to write traffic count data. 

Many of the members of my CEO peer group have shared their first time- for example:  

     Age 13- partner in a boat cleaning & detailing business at a marina: Now owns a growing trucking company.  

     Age 19- sole proprietor of a house painting business: Now a partner in a car dealership. 

My first time was at age 12.  After a big snow storm, I organized my buddies into a snow shoveling crew and started knocking on doors. The potential customers were easy to identify.  They were the houses where the snow was untouched.  I would ask if they needed help clearing away the snow.  

Getting a "Yes" was fun but collecting money when the work was completed was the real rush for me.  

WOW! Someone will actually pay me money for my business idea.  I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life.   

But it's not a high you can get working as an employee. There are a lot of companies that are great to work for and treat their people well.

But it's not the same.  There is nothing like the feeling of figuring it out yourself- to live and die by your own wits.

No job can ever compare to being the CEO.  You have that feeling of controlling the whole thing. You choose the game.  You choose the players.  You make the rules.  And if you win, you're the Champ.  

All successful business leaders have experienced those days when you just-slayed-it!  Whether you crushed your competition, raised a new round of financing, introduced a game changing innovation or some other achievement, you are the Master of the Universe!

        (And hours later, you wonder why you can't get to sleep?)   

"Like all drugs, business success can have a negative impact"

To a self actualized business leader, there is nothing they would rather do.  Really.  Which helps explain why many CEO are so "busy working" they don't have time to hang out with people outside the business (like family  and friends).  They would rather keep the shots of adrenalin coming and keep the game going.  

What happens when the scoreboard gets turned off and you have to go home?  How long can you go until your next fix?  Could you be facing withdrawal?  

Does this phenomenon explain why so many business leaders feel compelled to send emails late at night or on weekends?  Or why they hate vacations where they are off-the-grid.   Are they afraid to get too far away from the source of their drug?  

Are you addicted to the drug of business?  


Do you ever feel it's lonely at the top?

Or that you don't have anyone to talk to that doesn't have an agenda?

What if you could be in a room with 16 other CEOs?   What would you want to talk about?

Do you have difficult issues that you would like an unbiased opinion- by people who have already "been in your shoes"?

You're invited to come to a couple Seacoast Vistage monthy group meetings to see what that feels like.

I Want to Attend a Meeting