Be the CEO of Your Life...Chief Emotional Officer™

growth perspective well-being Sep 25, 2023
Charis Santillie's Mom, Diane, laughing, surrounded by bags and boxes of Pasta Mama's pasta
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #076 here.

The day I recorded this episode and created this post is my Mom's birthday, September 20th. She would have been 74 today, but we lost her nearly 10 years ago... You know what? I caught myself saying "lost her" earlier today and then again just now, and I want to reframe that. I understand we "lost her" in human form, but it just doesn't feel right to me to keep thinking I "lost her." I want to reframe that. I'm going to shift that to say she "moved on." That feels better to me. So let me back up and say that again... She moved on 10 years ago this Thanksgiving. (Words have immense power. If you ever catch yourself saying something that doesn't sit well with you and you realize it's not helping you, feel free to reframe it. There's tremendous power in changing the way you express something or even sometimes completely dropping a word from your vocabulary.)

I actually purposely chose today (knowing it was Mom's birthday) to present as part of an online webinar series to financial advisors who help with the exit planning process for business owners. The title of the webinar was "Find their Way After Exit Day: Help clients design their post-sale lives."

Did you know that about two-thirds of business owners end up unhappy after exiting their businesses?

Although they have time and money, they're unhappy because they no longer have a sense of fulfillment. They often feel as if they've also exited their passion and their identity. 

Although my parents didn't purposely exit their business, I could very much relate to how my Mom was very attached to her business and how much it hurt her to no longer have it.

The business was her baby.
The business was her passion.
The business was personal.


Photo above: My Mom, Diane Santillie, in a moment of pure joy, surrounded by Pasta Mama's pasta. (She was Pasta Mama!) This picture captures the essence of how much she loved that business.

There's a cultural fantasy around retirement that often leads to disappointment because many people equate their roles in their businesses with their life's purpose.

After the initial honeymoon period of retirement, which can be surprisingly short, many people, especially prior business owners, are left feeling lonely and without purpose. During the webinar, I introduced my concept of business owners taking on a new CEO role and becoming the Chief Emotional Officer™ of their lives.

Here's the thing: I realized that the topic wasn't just relevant to those exiting their businesses. It can apply to anyone.

What if you became the CEO of your life...the Chief Emotional Officer™? 

This means that you would learn about your emotions, pay attention to them, and eventually be able to navigate big life transitions without your emotions taking the steering wheel.

You may have heard me say before that I believe balance isn't about managing your time; it's about managing how you feel. Everything we do, every goal we chase, is fundamentally driven by our desire for a certain feeling we think that thing will bring us. And ironically, all kinds of discomfort are familiar feelings that keep us in our comfort zones. It's complex, yet simple: it's all about emotions and whether you let them move through you or control you.

These are skills we rarely learn in school, yet they're vital for a fulfilling life. My mom didn't have these tools, and she suffered greatly because of it. Learning how to manage your emotions, embrace change, and feel better more often is at the heart of what I teach my clients.

My work often involves helping people dig deep, explore their emotions, and navigate life transitions. I have a knack for calming people, and that calmness opens doors for personal growth. Today, in honor of my mom, I am encouraging each of you to embrace and take charge of your emotional journey. 

“I have an angel watching over me. She is my mom.” 

– Unknown

🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #076 here.

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