Dear Debbie: Will Adopting a CEO Mindset Help Me Find Purpose in My Work?

UPDATED: May 15, 2024
PUBLISHED: November 11, 2023
Debbie Biery, a white woman with shoulder length blond hair, red lipstick, and a blue floral shirt, smiling to represent her CEO mindset

Q: I recently started a new job at an exciting company. It’s not my dream job, but I see potential to succeed here. I’m excited about the opportunity, but I’m feeling a little directionless. How can I find purpose in my work? Do I need a CEO mindset?

A: I was excited to get this question because this is an experience I’ve faced many times in my life. I’ll tell you about one instance.

Many years ago, I needed work and joined a friend’s cleaning company. I worked during the night, cleaning restaurants after they closed. Each shift, I had three thoughts:

  1. I appreciate this.
  2. I’m going to do this really well.
  3. I’m not going to do this forever.

Those three statements not only energized me through long nights of cleaning, they also reframed how and what I learned. In time, I opened my own cleaning company and enjoyed some great success.

We aren’t all “living the dream” all the time. If you find yourself in a less-than-ideal position, my advice to you is this: Embrace the opportunity. I believe any job is an opportunity that you can leverage with the right mindset.

Try a CEO mindset

Here’s what that mindset is: You are the CEO of this position. As a leader—even a leader of a team of one—how will you be your absolute best? How will you show up and excel?

It is tempting to be demotivated by a role you may not love. A CEO mentality will encourage you to take ownership. Your approach shifts when you face any task as though it is an important challenge you are fully responsible for.

How to have a CEO mindset at every job

To reinforce the CEO mindset, I challenge you to try the following:

  1. View this job each day as an environment for personal growth. Your performance in this scenario is forever proof to yourself that you can do anything.
  2. Stay in a state of curiosity. Learn everything you can. You never know what education you are gaining and how it will play into your capabilities in the future.
  3. Look ahead. Played right, most of your workplace experiences can be a stepping stone to something else. Engage with the people around you. See the big picture of what the business is and the roles of the people who run it. Seek them out and use this time to prepare.

Coach yourself. It is natural for energy to decrease over time, especially when your job becomes familiar or rote. Don’t lose connection with your purpose. Remind yourself that you have an important role to play and exercise positive, healthy self-talk.

There are many risks when you feel a job is not what you want. But your unwavering performance, inquisitiveness, ambition and motivation are the keys to propelling you forward.

What I’ve done, and what every one of us can do, is reframe how we think about our work and our role in it. We must challenge ourselves. Tomorrow’s opportunities are waiting for you to conquer today’s challenges.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2023 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo courtesy of Debbie Biery.

With more than 20 years of experience in the real estate industry and a certified life coach, Debbie Biery is a firm believer in the power of communication, authenticity and self-awareness. She combines that experience with a desire to serve others and empower them to be the best version of themselves by helping them embrace failure and choose each moment as an opportunity for change and growth.