The Secret Fears & Hidden Insecurities of 15 CEOs
By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
We may look at people in positions of power and influence with the belief that they have unshakeable confidence. It could be because of the way they speak, make decisions or even just the way they carry themselves. The reality is that as human beings, they also have their own personal demons that they keep secret from the rest of the world.
Don't believe me? Here's some of what was revealed when Stanford University lecturer and executive coach Shirzad Chamine asked 100 top CEOs and presidents to anonymously confess 'one secret they never shared about how they really feel inside'.
It's an incredibly humbling list...
"I am terrified of failing as the leader of my business."
"I am rarely at peace with myself."
"I fear dying from an early age from overwork and stress."
"I am feeling sad and lonely and the anti-depressants I am on don’t seem to be working."
"I battle with constantly ranking and judging everyone around me."
"I have no idea how to truly connect with my only son."
"My air of confidence is false"
"I am self-destructive and I don’t know why."
"I don’t love myself very much."
"I lack strength in resisting temptations and desires."
"I often feel like I’m a fraud."
"I worry my materialism is hurting my children."
"I have been abusing drugs and alcohol to deal with stress."
"I wish I could run away for one year just to be alone."
"I’m afraid of ending up like my father, who is unloved and will die alone."
Getting The Right Support To Face Our Fears
The deepest fears of these powerful and successful individuals is a stark reminder of how apparent outward success does not necessarily equal inward success like happiness and fulfilment.
These insights prove we all have insecurities and fears, no matter what our status in life might be. It also shows that even those at the ‘top’ of any industry or profession can be reluctant to fully face and deal with them.
Facing inner challenges can be something many of us constantly ignore and avoid if we don't have people we feel ‘safe’ enough with. It's mentally and emotionally healthy to be able to express our innermost thoughts and fears.
What’s revealed here hits home the importance of finding people we can trust and open up to, which can be easier said than done, but possible. If we do not seek to be part of or build a close and trustworthy support network, we risk allowing our internal challenges to worsen over time and cause more damage in the long-term.
Top CEOs and executives see the value in investing in their own growth and development as a means to helping them face both personal and professional challenges.