Stop Being the Secretary of your Life and Start Being the CEO

First and foremost, there's nothing wrong with being a secretary. I've been one myself for the past 10 years. Most secretaries I know are essentially the "right hands" of their bosses. I'd hate to think what would happen to corporate America if all of the secretaries of the world suddenly disappeared. An amusing image of men in $5000 suits flummoxed by a copy machine comes to mind, but I digress... The point is, secretaries are not the bosses. They do a lot most of the hard work, but they don't get to call the shots. Ultimately, the final word is not theirs. 

On the other hand, no matter what your job is, whether you are a day laborer or a neurosurgeon, you are the CEO of your own life. Strangely, it's become apparent to me lately that many of us don't live this way. Many of us let other people dictate what we do, and how we live our lives. Too many of us don't even know what it is that we really want. What's most interesting is those who most often try and tell us what we ought to be doing don't pay a single one of our bills. We're signing the checks, yet we're the ones taking the orders. What sense does that make?

As some of you may know, I've recently graduated law school. (Hence the lack of posting lately.) At some point over the summer while studying corporate structure and management for the NC bar exam, I had this epiphany where I began to think of my life as my very own company. That then led me to consider who was actually the one managing it. I may or may not have had to do a little bit of restructuring. ;-) 

I found thinking of my life in this way to be very refreshing. It gave me a whole new perspective. It empowered me to regain a degree of control that had been lost somewhere along the way. I feel that I've now become the master of my life instead of being enslaved by it. Since it occurred to me that maybe my idea could do the same for someone else, I've taken the liberty of organizing my thoughts on the matter and presenting them here: 

'Incorporate' Your Life: A Step by Step Guide 

1. Know what is at stake.

Understand that life is a live-action show whose debut is also it's finale. There are no dress rehearsals. There are no do-overs. There are no bail-outs. There are no bankruptcies. The good of the corporation (you) has to come over everything else. Your health is your bottom line and your happiness is your profit. The energy you expend to accomplish both is your capital contribution. Always make sure you're running your corporation in the black and never in the red. 

2. Create your corporate charter. 

Figure out what's most important to you. Really think about it long and hard. Next, decide exactly what you will need to do to get it, whatever it is. Write it down. Make it your number one priority. Look at it every single day. This is your corporate mission. From this point on, Everything you do should be in line with it. 

3. Run and analyze reports often. 

A good CEO is always in tune with the financial well-being of his company. Take at least a few minutes every single day to review your accounting and make sure that the things you're putting all your effort into are part of your corporate mission. If you've been spending all of your time on ultra vires* activity, then you're acting outside the authority granted by your corporate charter. You are breaching your duty of loyalty to your corporation. It happens to all of us at some point. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can get yourself back in check.

4. Think things through.

When faced with a big decision, take time to think of the absolute worst thing that could happen if that decision ends up being the wrong one. Is your corporation healthy enough to recover from a bad career change, a broken heart, or a major financial loss? Have you sufficiently protected your most rudimentary assets? (Your education, your basic ability to provide for yourself, your emotional support system?)

Next, consider what could happen if the decision turns out to be lucrative. Could the potential profits really make your company take off? Could you find yourself in your dream job? With your soul mate? Accumulating great wealth? Decide if the potential rewards outweigh that risk and act accordingly. 

CEOs do this on a regular basis. Calculated risks are the key to success. A company that never takes risks probably won't ever see anything more than marginal growth, if any, over a long period of time. The difference is that while the corporate entity perpetually survives the death of its incorporator(s), your corporation will automatically dissolve upon your passing. Time is of the essence.

5. Organize your corporate management structure.

Designate a few people you respect and make an agreement with yourself that you will trust, or at least seriously consider their opinions and advice. Choose them very carefully. Then promote them to your board of directors. This is your company's panel of most trusted advisers. Run all of your major life decisions by them. Ruminate carefully over their feedback before you act. 

As for all of the other people in your life, relegate them as staff. While you may listen to their commentaries, how much weight you give them should be as varied and ephemeral as the topic of discussion. Dismiss negativity swiftly. Embrace positivism with caution. Remember, these are not your most trusted advisers. As long as their presence in your life contributes to the good of your corporation, keep them on board. But if at any point it doesn't, fire them immediately. You owe it to your company to cut your losses and drop the dead weight.

6. Know your own authority.

Remember that you are the boss of your life, and everyone else in it works for you. Never forget this executive power that is yours and yours alone. At the end of the day, you get to call the shots. Every single one of them. If you're letting someone else call them for you, my advice to you is to do as follows: kindly remove them from your commander's seat, sit yourself into it, prop your feet on top of your desk, and, with a dismissive flick of your wrist, say, "Thank you, that will be all."

*ultra vires: Latin, meaning "beyond the powers." Describes actions taken by government bodies or corporations that exceed the scope of power given to them by laws or corporate charters.

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