By Paul Killoran.
Being a CEO is tough. And no, I’m not talking about cashflow, customers, employees, product or any of the other rational things that I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. No, I’m talking about the one irrational thing that I can never escape from; the voice inside my head.
The same voice that questions and analyses every single thing that I do. A voice that debilitates me at times. A voice that don’t seem to have an “off” switch.
And so, I started to ask myself where did this voice come from? Why do I have it? And how in the name of God, can I turn it off?
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Web Summit in Dublin. I walked around the RDS looking at early stage start-ups pitching for their lives all trying to disrupt something. Everybody was so busy disrupting, that if you weren’t disrupting you were clearly wasting your time.
After an hour of being disrupted, I finally found a coffee shop. I sat down and ordered a hot chocolate. It was divine. It was probably the most disruptive thing that had happened to me all day.
On the train home, I read an article by David Heinemeier Hansson (Founder of Basecamp/37Signals) called “Reconsider”. In this article, David questions the modern day obsession with unicorns and the idea that we need to disrupt everything. We’re no longer interested in building simple products, for simple customers, for simple money.
Nobody wants to sell a simple mug of hot chocolate anymore.
Why? Because we want to feel special.
We want to prove that we’re better than everyone else. We want to believe that we’re the main character of a very special story called “Life” and that everything in the world revolves around us. Creating a unicorn would prove this.
But deep inside my head, I have a constant fear about being found out. A fear that I’m just regular normal person and that I’m not special at all. A fear that I’m just plain deluded.
Feeding one’s ego is probably the easiest short-term way of suppressing these fears. Essentially, if I can collect enough social trophies I can convince myself that I’m successful and that my perceived reality is not in fact a delusion.
But will this work in the long term? Do I need to ground it in something more tangible? Am I special? Am I normal? Am I deluded? Does it matter? Who cares?