10 Simple Steps to Get Into the CEO Mindset

I want to share some tips with you about how you can get into that CEO mindset.

I’ve really been reflecting on this since we brought on our first employee into The Money Panel. We now have a Business Operations Manager, and what it’s enabled me to do is to take time to step back and out from the business. We are now a proper business! We have staff members now and it feels crazy, but it definitely feels like an opportunity to come from a place of treating this as if I am the CEO of this business.

If you’re running your own business, maybe you’re not bringing on your first employee yet, how do you get into that CEO mindset?

10 Simple Steps to Get Into the CEO Mindset

  1. Get clear on your North Star
  2. Be a helicopter
  3. Let It Go
  4. Take action
  5. Great leadership = great habits
  6. Decisions, decisions…
  7. Push boundaries
  8. Make mistakes
  9. Get Playful
  10. Small, Imperfect Steps
  11. PLUS: How to know where to spend your time

Get Clear on Your North Star

The first one is about getting really, really clear on your North star.

I had three one-to-one’s today with my clients and in all of the sessions we were talking about what is it that’s helping to guide them? How do they know when they’re going to be successful? How will you know when you’re successful? What is your guiding star? What is the vision that you want to create for your business?

This makes things much easier when you’re trying to make decisions about things. Are you someone that often procrastinates or perhaps falls into the trap of saying yes to opportunities? You say yes too many times and you end up getting absolutely rammed packed full of too many yeses and then you haven’t got the time to be able to think more strategically or to plan out your content or to build your business.

Certainly for me, I’ve been guilty of that over the years when I’ve not held that CEO mindset and thought. This is about creating non-negotiables around your time. Boundaries around your time and your commitments.

When you’re clear on your North star, what your direction is, what your vision is for your business, then when you have an opportunity that swings your way, you could ask yourself the question, does this help me move one closer step? Or does it help me move in the direction of that North star?

Having a good, clear vision is really important. One of the things that helps me to create more direction and vision in my business is understanding my values. One of my core values is injustice. So if there’s something going on that I don’t agree with I will just immediately distance myself. I’ve had to do that in my business with people I’m connected with, people that I follow, perhaps where I think there’s just something about that person or the business or the values that doesn’t feel right. You just have to be able to make the decisions to step away.

Understanding your values can actually help you to craft your North star, help you to craft your vision.

Be a Helicopter

The second thing is about the power of planning and having helicopter days. I’ve just booked a helicopter day in my diary for next week. I’ve got two booked in two weeks after that, because it’s as important for you to take that helicopter time in your business to actually step back and away from your business to think, okay, so what am I doing? What is my time being used for? Is it being used in the most efficient way? Could I be making better decisions?

But you can’t do that when you’re running a challenge or launching courses, you’re building your audience, you’re doing all of these things. So have yourself helicopter days where you can literally take yourself up and look down at your business operations, look at your systems, look at your processes, make some proactive outreach.

Those things that sit on your list like those podcasts you have been meaning to get on for the last three months. It’s not that we haven’t had the time because time is the one thing that we can’t actually manage. You can’t manage time, but you can prioritise it.

Having those helicopter days in your diary just enables you to be able to be able to lift up and out of your business and reflect on activities and tasks that you are doing. I’m going to share with you how you recognise what is useful for you to spend your time in and what isn’t.

Let It Go!

Sometimes it is more about letting go of things, than creating more things. Earlier on one of my podcast episodes, I talked about the power of the law of subtraction. Many of you will be familiar with law of attraction. The law of subtraction is about what can you take away rather than what can you create more of?

That could be less social media scrolling time. It could be withdrawing from relationships that are negative. It could be unfollowing somebody, coming off Twitter because it’s negative. It’s looking at what is sapping your time or your energy, and what do you need to remove yourself from or let go of.

Letting go of decisions that you’ve made in the past is a big one. Forgiveness is one of the first steps involved with creating that CEO mindset. If you’ve made decisions in the past and you think, oh, that was such a bad decision, what’s going to happen is your brain is going to remember that. It’s going to stop you from creating the success that you seek and desire and deserve.

Sometimes it is about letting go and being able to practice forgiveness of yourself. That may have been a bad decision, but it was a decision that’s in the past. You’re now in your present and you’re looking forward.

You can change your past. You can change your past by changing your future and changing the meaning that you attach to that belief, that story, that experience. It’s hugely, hugely powerful.

I use several different exercises with my one-to-one clients to help them to get through that forgiveness stage. But it’s a big one because mindset is everything. What things do you need to let go of? What things do you need to forgive yourself for in order to move forward and get into that CEO mindset?


Take Action

Action as well as planning. A lot of people work with me because they are either high on planning and low on action taking and they want a bit of a kick up the bum. What do I need to do Catherine, to get this, this and this done.

Or it might be the complete opposite. I don’t plan anything, everything’s spontaneous. How do I create a content plan for example. There’s two extreme versions there.

Now, what would the CEO do?

The CEO would make sure that they know their North star. They know their vision, they have a plan and they know what the small steps are that they’re working towards to get them further towards that goal, that intention, that North star.

A lot of people fear action because it’s outside of their comfort zone. They’ve never done it before. They’re launching a podcast that’s new to them. They’re launching a course that they’ve never done before. They’re doing a Facebook live that they’ve never done before. It’s all these things that sit on the planning list and sit there and sit there because the fear (which is just something that hasn’t actually even happened yet) is the future event appearing real.

It hasn’t actually even happened yet. When you take action, it doesn’t matter whether it’s big action or small action, it builds momentum. Every time you build a little bit more momentum, it feeds a bit more motivation. When you get more motivation, it feeds the next step. It doesn’t have to be a big mammoth giant leap. It can be the small steps of imperfection that make the difference.

If you’re sitting here thinking, I know I need to do this, but I just need to get out my own way and have the confidence to just do it, then think about what could be maybe a good, a great, and an even better version of that step or that goal.

Let’s say, setting up your first investment is your great step. That’s what 10 out of 10 would look like. So what would a good, and a better look like?

A good might be doing an investing course to learn about it, a great would be setting it up and an even better might be having the confidence to start trading for example.

Or it might be that you want to launch your podcast. A good version would be to get the audio track intro recorded, a better would be to get your first three episodes in the bank and a great would be to launch it into iTunes.

You can actually get to follow some steps of progression and motivation. So action, as well as planning is really important and it’s when you take the action that you get motivated to do more and more and more and more.

Great Leadership = Great Habits

Great leadership equals great habits. I’ve been interviewing lots of successful leaders on my podcast recently. One of the things they all have in common is great habits.

Think about what habits do you need to start implementing in order to show leadership, not just to your tribe and your followers, but also to yourself. What things do you need to commit to for yourself that are important?

Creating great habits is another really important CEO mindset and the way that habits are formed is you’ve got to start with the motivator. You’ve got to start with how you feel, how you think that then leads to the actual habit, the actual action itself. Most people go the opposite and do this the wrong way around. They say to themselves on a Sunday night, the diet starts tomorrow and then Monday comes and they’re not really motivated. They can’t really be bothered, so they say, oh, I’ll do it next week. Then the pattern continues.

We have to think about what is the thought that’s stopping us from doing it in the first place. Are we even motivated to do it? If we’re not motivated to do it, let’s face it, we’re not going to do it.

Often what happens in business is we look at what everybody else is doing. How many times can you resonate with when you’ve felt that imposter syndrome or that inner critic, or that comparisonitis come up where you look at what somebody else is doing and you’re like, oh, actually, I’m going to do that instead. You completely lose sight of your North star. You completely lose sight of the clients that you’re serving because you think, well, they’re doing that so that must be the right thing to do.

Put your blinkers on sometimes and think about what is the next step for you in your business, in your life, with the goals that and the intentions that you set yourself, what is your next step? Taking inspiration from what other people are doing but putting those blinkers on.

Decisions, Decisions…

This has been a big one for me recently. I’ll be really honest. I struggle sometimes with making decisions and often it tends to fall at a certain time of month. Let’s face it. When hormones are all coming at you and you think, Oh my God, I can’t even think straight I’m knackered. That is not a good time to be making any decisions.

When I feel that, I know that in two days time, the fog is going to clear. My hormonal fog is going to clear and I’ll be back on it. I just accept that it’s not a good 48 hours to make any decisions. Outside of that time, I give myself 20 minutes. If there are times where I just don’t know what to do. I can’t make a decision. I give myself 20 minutes and I have to make a decision within 20 minutes.

It’s something called the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique is essentially where you set a timer and you do a high energy task for a short period of time and typically for about 20 minutes. Then you have a five minute break and then do another 20 minutes and you have a five minute break and you have another 20 minutes, and then you have a longer break.

I think actually you can use this for decision making. So if you are procrastinating, set your timer for 20 minutes, go for a walk, do something else, go and speak to somebody. But you have to make a decision by the end of that 20 minutes.

Every decision you make is a good decision. I always remember my dad telling me that. Every decision you make is a good decision because you learn something from every decision. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be the most perfect decision or 10 out of 10, you’ll learn something from it.

I want to share some tips with you about how you can get into that CEO mindset.

Push Boundaries

The next step is about pushing your boundaries, stretching your comfort zone. You want to do something and you think I’m just not confident enough, it’s too scary. It fills you physically with anxiety and fear.

That might be opening your bank statement, that might be going onto a podcast interview, that might be having a completely different hairstyle. It could be anything but pushing your boundaries is when opportunity comes, where that growth mindset comes in.

Anytime you feel fear and discomfort, it’s because your comfort zone is being stretched. What sits beyond that fear and anxiety is where the magic happens.

Sometimes we have to pay attention to our language. If we’re saying to ourselves, that it’s too difficult, I’ve never done that before, I couldn’t possibly do that, I’m not worthy enough to do that, I can’t double my prices. Then just say to yourself, it’s just a small change. It’s a small step. If you tell yourself it’s a big change and a big step, you’re going to feel that fear twice as much than if you say to yourself, no, I’m just dipping my toes in and this isn’t a big leap. This is a small step.

When you reframe your language and think about what you’re saying to yourself, you will feel a million times better. You’ll be able to cut in half that level of stress and anxiety because often it’s just that inner critic. You’re telling yourself you can’t do it.

Think about the benefits of pushing those boundaries. What sits outside that for you? What would be possible for you if you were to push those boundaries?

Make Mistakes

I want you to make mistakes. I want you to make financial mistakes. I want you to be making mistakes in your business because that’s when you learn the most.

Every single Sunday, I do a review and I have a piece of paper and I cut it into four and I share my lessons, my wins, my challenges and my focus. It’s in the lessons column, when I look back at the lessons I’ve learned about myself this year already, it’s huge. When you look back at those lessons and reflect, you can then start to pay some attention to your progress and how much action you’ve taken, or what you’ve learned about yourself along your journey.

That is the CEO mindset. It’s about understanding that there are ups and there are downs. Making mistakes is part of the journey. It’s about enjoying the ride.

Get Playful

The next tip I’ve got to share with you is to play. When you’re fearful about making a decision, think about it as just playing.

I’ve got this idea. I’m just going to play with it and see what happens. Sometimes the word play can unlock the CEO mindset to just enable you to flex, to think of other opportunities and to be less rigid in your decision making. And maybe even start to dissipate or remove things that are getting in your way.

The word play can be a much gentler the way of thinking about what might be the next step financially for you to make. What might be the next decision for you to make without you having this pressure on yourself that it has to be the perfect decision.

We’ve been talking this week because we are debating what to do with our house at the moment. Do we sell it? Do we move? Do we send our kids to this school or this school? Sometimes it’s helpful to just play. Let’s just play with the idea. We actually put a post on social media and said, is anyone looking for a house in this village? We’ve had three people round for private viewings.

We’ve also thought outside the box and gone on to another Facebook page for the area that we might want to buy and said, is anyone selling in this area? One person immediately posted on this post, contact estate agents. I’m like, everyone does that. I want to think outside the box and maybe try and get in ahead before they get onto Right Move. Then loads of other people were like, that’s such a good idea.

Thinking outside the box and playing can really help you to move forward.

Take Small Imperfect Steps

My final step is it’s the small imperfect steps that make the difference. The small imperfect steps that make the difference between whether you stay still or whether you move forward into that CEO mindset.

Ask yourself, what would the CEO do? What would the CEO do of your business or the CEO of your life? What would they be doing? What would they be thinking? What would they be feeling? How are they behaving? What habits would they have in place? Those would be my tips in terms of getting into that CEO mindset.

How to Know Where to Spend Your Time

The final thing I want to share with you is a brilliant exercise about looking at your time where you’re allocating your time.

What you can do is grab a piece of paper and just head up a couple of columns. The first column is the date. Then you want to head up the task or the activity that you’re doing, then you want to do a start and a finish time and a total time column at the end. Maybe one final column that is about the return on investment or the CEO.

You have the date, the activity, the start time, the finish time, the total time, and then your final column, which is about your return on investment. I want you to track what you’re doing in your business or in your personal life for an entire week.

Fill in those columns to say, today I’ve spent 10 minutes doing emails. Then I did 30 minutes on the school run. Then I spent 15 minutes having a chat with a friend. Then I spent 20 minutes trying to work out how to link my Calendly with my website. Then I spent 30 minutes on a coaching call, and then I spent 50 minutes scrolling social media, etc.

Essentially, you’ll end up with a list of activities and how long you spent doing each activity. You could ask yourself, what did you observe about your time or the use of your time? What needs to change? What tasks that you’re doing are high income generating tasks, and which ones are not.

So which ones are low income generating tasks? Scrolling social media is a low income generating task. Reaching out to a couple of people you might want to work with is a high income generating task. Answering emails depends on the emails you’re answering, right? But that could be something that could be outsourced to a virtual assistant.

That can create more time for you to be focusing on the high income generating tasks. What could be planned differently to prioritise more time (because you can’t create more time)? Which tasks are you holding on to because you love doing them? How often do we fall into that trap?

I love creating social media images, or I love doing bookkeeping or I just love organising spreadsheets. You might love doing it, but if it’s not making you money in your business, then outsource it to somebody else. What tasks are you just holding onto because you love doing them? If you’re honest with yourself, somebody else could do it for you, probably at the same speed, but it would free up time for you to do something else.

Then remind yourself of your zone of genius. You might enjoy doing it, but what’s your zone of genius because that’s where you should be spending most of your time.

Let me know in the comments below: My zone of genius is… and therefore I need to delegate… [activity] to make a better return on investment.

Have a think about what is sapping some of your time in order to step into that CEO mindset.

10 Simple Steps to Get Into the CEO Mindset

  • Get clear on your vision, your North star, what’s guiding you towards your mission and your purpose.
  • Making sure you book these helicopter days in your diary so that it gives you time to look back and plan strategically on what’s going on in your business.
  • What do you need to let go of? What do you need to forgive in order to move forwards?
  • Take action as well as planning because it’s when the action happens, that you build more motivation and then you take more action. So taking action, as well as planning.
  • Create great habits.
  • Great leadership is equals great habits. Number six is about making decisions. Set that 20 minute timer to make good decisions.
  • Number seven is pushing those boundaries.
  • Make mistakes and be comfortable with making mistakes.
  • Playing, just playing. If you’re unsure of something, just play, test it, see what happens, play.
  • Small steps of imperfect action.


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