The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)—It would be a lie if I were to say that I never wanted to be a CEO of.. anything. The title symbolizes status, power, authority. However, once I started working at a medium-size company, I wondered, what do CEOs even do? It seemed like most of them we either know of or hear about play golf the majority of their time and their paycheck consists of way too many zeros.
However, having worked at a startup company, alongside many other aspiring entrepreneurs, I came across a different kind of CEO. For one, there were way too many CEOs in one room and I realized that the highly regarded title is just that—a title. Just because I slap on a few extra letters after my name, doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t prove anything. The value and worth of an individual is not defined by what degrees or titles they’ve achieved, but is defined by who they are.
Another discovery was that there are also a lot of CEOs with not enough zeros in their paycheck. It’s the #truelife of a hustler. But with knowing this reality, I’ve realized that these individuals are another breed of leaders. These CEOs don’t have enough time in their day for rounds of golf, rather they work longer and harder hours than a first year analyst at an investment firm.
CEOs as founders of a company also possess something that no other coworker, employee, or investor may have—vision.
I recently did an exercise with a CEO of a company and was asked, “What would this company look like 20 years from now without any limitations?” I sat there and pondered, trying to imagine the highest potential for the company and its reach to redeem the creative arts. Being a relatively creative person myself, I shared my thoughts and believed it was a good swing at the task at hand.
However, what I soon realized was that the most grandiose vision that I could have imagined paled in comparison to the original creator (i.e., the CEO). Even as a past employee, having worked different facets of the company, even as an educated individual with a creative and explorative mind, my “wildest” imagination of what the pinnacle of success for this company would look like was nothing to what the founder had already planned and dreamed of before inception.
I shared that this company would allow people to have access to the best artists in remote villages of Africa for their cultural awareness event. The CEO shared that the president of a country rebuilding its war torn lands would utilize the platform to gather multiple artists, architects, designers, and performers, to showcase the strength and unification of the country as a demonstration and proclamation to the rest of the world. My mind was blown away..
How much more so…
After the five hour meeting of brainstorming for the future growth of the company, I normally would’ve felt exhausted; however, an epiphany began to take shape from what seemed as an ordinary work related experience.
I know I am a smart individual. I know I have had many different experiences in life that I’ve also reflected on that has shaped my character and my perspective. However, in the end that didn’t matter in the context of this company and the original creator’s vision.
And on the bus ride back home, was when I began reflecting on the Original Creator. The Creator of the universe and the earth. The ultimate CEO.
How much more trivial would our visions be as we try to compare our wisdom and knowledge to a God of the universe, creator of our lives, the “companies” we operate in, trying to add value and meaning when it is only the Good Father who truly knows best. I realized that I used to think that I knew best, that I held the most rationale opinions on complex issues, that I have given the most thought to various matters pertaining to my life and my surroundings. But as I continue this journey of life and faith, I realize how insignificant I am compared to the vastness that is God and simply for that reason, I exalt Thee.