#53 The CEO of Your Business and Life: How to Succeed in Both

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This podcast episode is a valuable resource for anyone who is looking to start or grow a business. Alison Wheeler, a business coach with a wealth of knowledge and experience, offers practical advice that can help you become the CEO of your life and business.

Here are some specific actions you can take after listening to this podcast:

  • Take some time to reflect on your own goals and dreams. What do you want to achieve in your business?
  • Develop a plan for how you will achieve your goals. This plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Start taking action on your plan. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start. Just start taking small steps today.
  • Find a mentor or coach who can help you achieve your goals. Having someone to support you and guide you can make a big difference.
  • Don’t give up! It takes time and effort to achieve success in business. Your perseverance will pay off.

Transcript:

Ameeta
Good morning, Alison. Welcome to the Simple Marketing Solutions podcast. It’s going to be a great episode. I’m really interested to hear your thoughts about women in business and becoming the CEO of your business and how that plays out in their roles as business owners.

Ameeta
I would love for you though, before we get into all of the nitty gritty, to let our audience know a bit about yourself.

Alison
Absolutely. And thank you, Ameeta, for having me on your podcast. I am very much looking forward to the conversation. Just so I’m not a stranger to everyone, my background, I have been in business coaching for about 13 years now.

Alison
So my original background, if we peel back a little bit, I am an occupational therapist by profession, then went into, developed probably more into coaching, spent a lot of time within corporate organizations in that industry, certainly learning things that could be done better, that is for sure, through that.

Alison
And then from there, I obviously started building out coaching. I also have had a network marketing business, extremely successful at that, walked away from that though, due to values conflict, reestablished coaching.

Alison
So many iterations of what I’ve done, but it’s always been the same underlying purpose, which is to help other people flourish and prosper. So just different paths, still the same goal. And I’ve been an athlete my whole life.

Alison
I’m a pro athlete for Miss Fitness Australia. Yeah, so I think that’s probably me, I’m a mum, I’m a wife, I’m a dog mum. So life is busy, right? And we’ll be juggling away with all of those things.

Alison
But that kind of gives you a little bit of a, well, everyone a little bit of background about me. I’m extremely passionate about helping people be successful in their business, making a profitable business, but also one that actually builds the life that you actually want.

Alison
And I was having a really interesting conversation with someone yesterday, Ameeta, about just exactly that, right? Like when you, you know, she said, well, how do I get to the next level in my business?

Alison
And I said, well, what is that? What’s that look like? Well, I want to get to a hundred grand. She wasn’t there yet. I’m like, okay, so have you done your numbers?

Alison
Have you worked out a plan? Do you know what that even looks like to you? And she’s like, oh, well, no. And I said, well, would you build a house without knowing what you want the house to look like?

Alison
Would you build the house without a plan? Right? Like if you want to build the Eiffel Tower, it’s a slightly different foundation to if you want to build a shack. So, you know, and, and so often I think to Ameeta as woman is we don’t always let ourselves have the pleasure of imagining what we really, really want.

Alison
And that is something that I really enjoy helping people hone in on. And then put that actual roadmap together to get there. Yeah, hopefully that answers that question.

Ameeta
Yeah, yeah, no, it does. Thank you for the insights. And, you know, like you said, you’ve got a lot going on being, you know, a mom, a wife, a successful business owner running this coaching business.

Ameeta
And I love the fact that you brought up this client that you were talking to yesterday, because it is such a common thing to see, where we don’t spend enough time with the planning of our business.

Ameeta
And really imagining what that would look like for us and what we would be happy with as well. Do you find in those situations that it’s, you find it common when you’re talking to women in business?

Alison
Very common.

Alison
Yes, very common. When I ask that question, blank, right? Often people don’t know the answer or they give me a generic answer. I want to be successful. Yes. But what does that mean to you?

Alison
What’s the definition for you? Because otherwise, you will build someone else’s version of success.

Ameeta
Exactly.

Alison
You know, and I think that the topics we’re talking about today, Ameeta, relate very directly to knowing what that is, right? If you want to, you need to know what you’re building in order to then be able to have a schedule.

Alison
Because what are you putting in it? Yes. Otherwise, you’re at effect of your time. You’re not in control of your time and you certainly don’t feel like you are. Not to say that at times things are chaotic, like most women live a blended existence of multiple hats and things like that.

Alison
Like that’s life. I don’t know that I think work-life balance is a realistic goal for people because balance is non-movement. And I feel what is more of a realistic goal around what I believe the concept of work-life balance is, is being able to move fluidly.

Ameeta
Yes. That makes more sense. And when you describe that to clients that you work with, what is their response?

Alison
When I talk to them about the working towards a fluid, yeah. Well, they feel less tight because they also, you know, most of the women respond, oh, because they’re striving for this thing that is called balance.

Alison
Yeah. Not realizing that then everything won’t move. Yes. That’s unrealistic. So it’s like all of a sudden the pressure is taken off. They can actually look at it and then go, oh, right.

Alison
I’m not striving for something that’s unrealistic anymore. My life is going to be fluid. Some might call that slightly chaotic mess, but we’ll call it fluid. Yes. So where you can blend and you can, you know, it’s okay to do that.

Alison
There doesn’t, because I think work-life balance is more of an idea of a masculine, like it’s this, right? Most women can’t fit into that. No. If something, then if they try to just do that rigid way and then something goes wrong, they thought things fall apart very quickly.

Alison
So I’m very much for a schedule, right? I think you need to be scheduled. If you want to be successful, I think you have to have a schedule. You need to know when you’re doing what, but that actually gives you more fluidity because it’s like having a playing field with no lines on it.

Alison
Like that, it doesn’t work for a game or having a playing field with lines on it. Well, that’s going to be a better game because people know where to move. Exactly. What are schedules like?

Ameeta
And so then from a time management’s perspective, then that’s how you gain more time because you know what’s happening when as well. And in business as a woman, like you were saying, it’s hard to fit into that model of the way that we’ve thought that society has taught us in terms of this is the structure, this is what you have to follow.

Ameeta
Being more fluid with it obviously is going to allow you to adapt it and make it your own, which I think is also the really important thing is that I find that women in business feel like we do have to follow this way that’s been taught, but each of us are individuals and we have to choose what works for us, for our lives, for our families, for what we are trying to create for our business.

Ameeta
And there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to that. Do you feel that as a woman in business, have you noticed that they don’t give themselves the Authority to be the CEO and step into that role of, you know, overseeing the business instead of always being at that level of doing, doing, doing and ticking boxes.

Alison
Yeah, I absolutely think that from my experience and I’ve worked with, you know, people, I’ve worked with business owners from startup all the way through to multiple seven figures. So the, the, the, the issues change slightly, but the, that level of wanting to and being willing to wear that CEO heart of your life and your business is something that, that I find a lot of women find very challenging to do because of the perception.

Alison
I don’t want to be seen as bossy. I don’t want to be seen too forceful. I don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t. Right. What do you want?

Alison
What do you actually want? I know what you don’t want, but what do you want? And until you’re willing to say what you actually want and ask for it,

Alison
right? Once you’ve got, like knowing what you don’t want is important because then it can allude to what you do want. Exactly. However, there’s another step because once you know what you do want, you must ask.

Alison
And that is very confronting, right? That’s putting that CEO heart on and actually asking and being willing to take the responsibility to, if you have a team, to train them and make sure that they can handle that responsibility in your household.

Alison
It can be the same, right? Giving instructions. You know, one of my clients, for example, very busy. She will not mind me sharing. She was going to be late home from the office and from their business, right?

Alison
They have several, but she was going to be late home. And she rang her husband, said, I’m going to be late home. Won’t get into whatever time. I think it was eight or something like that.

Alison
Now, what she had thought she had asked for in that statement was, can you please come home at eight and lost the plot because she was so frustrated that there was no dinner cooked and everything hadn’t been handled.

Alison
But she’d never actually asked, despite I shouldn’t have to. And I’m like, well, no one can read your mind. People are busy in their own life, doing their own things, even if it’s your significant other or your children or whatever, like they’re on their own pathway.

Alison
Your employees, they’re on their own thinking and pathway. So that it’s important to actually ask in a way that they can hear. Then once you’ve asked, it’s not enough just to ask, though.

Alison
The responsibility of the person asking is to make sure the information is understood. So did that person at the other end of what you just asked actually duplicate and understand what you just said, they might’ve gone, yes, yes, yes.

Alison
And they may have heard Chinese whispers, right? Like you said, red, they heard orange. So we wonder why mistakes happen. It’s because we didn’t check at that first point. And often we can feel as women, oh my gosh, I’m being very pushy and I’m intrusive.

Alison
No, you’re just making sure that it’s going to go right. It’s not micromanagement. It’s good communication. There’s a very big difference. So then you can check, did that person duplicate and understand what I just said?

Alison
Can you say that back to me just so I can make sure that we’re both on the same page, right? It doesn’t have to be a pushy thing to say. It’s just good communication.

Alison
That person feeds that back. If it’s not what you said, you now have an opportunity to correct it. Then and there. Then and there. And then Ameeta, the next step would be to check with the person if they actually have the space and can do it in the timeframe you want.

Alison
So let’s say you wanted, same example, dinner cooked before eight o’clock. Does that person have the space to do it with everything in their world? To do it by 8pm. Now, if you say, can you do that by 8pm?

Alison
And they say, yes, great. Perfect. Okay. If they say, no, I’ve got blah, blah, blah, you can then renegotiate.

Ameeta
Yes.

Alison
Yes. So that the embracing the CEO heart is for me from my perspective is about very clear communication and it is very confronting. It’s not easy to do because there’s so much societal, you know, still conditioning still shocks me to this day.

Alison
We burned our bras a long time ago. And yet we are still in this societal conditioning where a woman, you know, the good girl and sit back and be quiet. And if you are, you know, pushing forward like that, there’s a woman who is the CEO of Qantas. Now she still gets paid less.

Ameeta
It doesn’t make sense.

Alison
It doesn’t make sense. Right. So we still, you know, so it does take confront and it does take strength. But if we are all moving towards this, we can change that paradigm.

Alison
We can change what’s happening. But generally women, in my opinion, tend to be better communicators when we give ourselves the space to do so.

Ameeta
And that is the important thing is that we, I think, have to get out of our own way and realize that there is power in us using the skill of being good communicators to really just embrace that and, yeah, you know, move forward from where we’re at right now.

Ameeta
And we all have to take that step together within our own businesses, within our own, you know, even if you’re employed in those roles, how do we take that step to make it better for the future generation of women out there as well?

Ameeta
So it’s not, you know, I think sometimes we also forget that what we’re doing, even if you’ve just got a micro business to a big corporation with, you know, hundreds of employees under you, is that you do have the ability to have an influence on what happens now and for the future. So every little step does count.

Alison
100%. I agree. For women to really take ownership of that CEO heart that they, you know, every woman has the ability to wear a CEO hat, no matter what they’re doing. That can be in their family, that can be in business.

Alison
All it means is that you are choosing to be of the highest responsibility and you are communicating your needs and wants clearly and making sure it goes right, right? Like then, you know, has that gone right?

Alison
Where did that go wrong? Where did the communication break down? How can we do that better?

Alison
Because so often it’s a communication breakdown.

Ameeta
Yes. And I have noticed as well, even with those communication breakdowns, it’s so easy for us to put the blame on somebody else and not take the responsibility, you know. And when you’re looking at that role of being the CEO in your household, in your business, wherever that is, like you were describing that communication is so important, but realizing that somebody has to take responsibility as well, because we can’t move forward when we continue to just blame others and not take responsibility for our own actions or inactions or verbalizing correctly to that other person as well.

Alison
Yeah. A hundred percent. And I think with that too, sometimes like everyone wants to be right, not a person on the planet that doesn’t want to be right.

Alison
It’s the hardest words that come out of that. But I can tell you if someone doesn’t, the situation does not move on. And two people, one person has to stop arguing for an argument to finish, right?

Alison
And if someone doesn’t take full responsibility, in taking full responsibility, you’re not necessarily saying what you did is okay. You’re saying I take responsibility in my part and what then happens is the person can calm down enough and you can both move on to actually talk about it, to resolve it, to get to the next point.

Alison
And I’m not saying this is easy because it’s one of the hardest things I do in my life, particularly in my household, right? Like can be where it’s the hardest is for me to say, I take full responsibility for that.

Alison
And it’s a practice and I can get really rusty really quickly. Exactly. I have to remind like, oh no, okay, being triggered, stop, take a breath, do that again. And we have a practice in my house where we go, okay, let me do that again, right?

Alison
Because you can get it wrong and you can, if you, you can also do that in your business.

Ameeta
Yes, exactly.

Alison
Like responsibility for that, we totally appreciate that did not work.

Ameeta
Yeah, because there is all this opportunity to learn from that, you know, and when you’re aware of it, and are willing to just take that step back, take a breath and redo, things generally will run a lot smoother.

Ameeta
Everybody’s happier and you get the result that you were looking for originally as well. So yes, there’s, we do need to just get over the fact that it’s okay to not, you know, not be right all the time.

Alison
100%, 100%. We so want to be. Yeah. And that does not mean that you’re not, right? However, to move on from a stuck point, someone has to take responsibility or nothing changes.

Alison
Exactly. And in resentment builds, and then, you know, weeks later, you wonder why the wheels are falling off something.

Ameeta
Yeah. And it just causes so much more conflict and pain that could have all been prevented quite easily. Yeah.

Alison
And sometimes we do have to swallow our own ego, right? Those words out loud. And you know, it’s a really difficult thing for most people to do. But again, it’s a practice.

Alison
Are you going to get all these things right? Is it going to be perfect? No, stop trying to be perfect. You will mess it up many times, getting to the point where it actually feels more natural.

Alison
And there are still times, even when it’s starting to become more natural, that you’ll be triggered by something and it won’t and you’ll have to then go, whoa, what just happened, right?

Alison
And then go, okay, next time I will know that in this situation, I need to approach it in a different way. Like there’s always going to be challenges.

Ameeta
Yeah, absolutely. And on the topic of challenges, you know, you’ve been in business for many years. How have you personally, or what has been the biggest challenge for you in your business?

Alison
Yeah, so many, growing it as fast as my mind wants to. With my results, I am so impatient, very patient with everyone else, but for my results, like completely impatient. So that would be one of the biggest challenges, learning patience, right?

Alison
And learning the longevity of the seed you plant today is, you know, it will grow whenever. So just plant a lot of seeds, because if you just plant one seed, you can kind of drive yourself a little bit baddie.

Alison
That would be one. And then the other one in my previous iteration of business, like I’m quite a strong person, I would have been, but that can cause for the environment that that was, that caused conflict at the higher levels.

Alison
And there was a lot of undermining that I didn’t realize was happening. So it wasn’t like I knew something wasn’t right. Intuitively, something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Alison
I am very grateful for COVID because it made me stop and look.

Alison
And I realized it gave me the ability because we couldn’t do some of the things we were doing, events and things like that. It gave me the ability to really look at it and go, Oh my goodness.

Alison
Do I want to be aligned with these people? Are these? No. Is this my version of success? No. Is this actually harming me? Yes. These people are actually, like I’m allowing, I take full responsibility, but I’m allowing myself to be undermined and I could see my confidence withering.

Alison
And I didn’t know that was happening until then. So one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had in business was to walk away from that business, to decide that despite my efforts to change things, I will always attempt to go to source and fix it, but I could not.

Alison
And so at that point, I had a very challenging decision to make, do I walk away from something extremely successful because it no longer serves me and there won’t be much left of me at the end of it.

Alison
And I had to make that, like my why, my bigger why one is my family and two is making sure that there’s a generational change, right? Like the stuff we’ve spoken about.

Alison
So I couldn’t do that there. So that was probably my very articulating that, like really owning my CEO heart. And I realized I hadn’t been, I hadn’t been wearing that CEO heart of my life as well as my business on a bigger level.

Alison
So not on the micro level of the business itself, but on the bigger level of the vision, I’d taken that off and I’d let someone else run it. And so as much as COVID, the pandemic was very hard.

Alison
I am very grateful because I wouldn’t be in this new iteration had that not happened. I would probably still be doing that. So, but I, but the consequence of being in an environment like that is things start to go pear shaped, whether that turns up in your body, whether that turns up in other areas of life that, you know, the challenges were turning up in my marriage.

Alison
And I’m like, why is my marriage falling apart? What the hell is going on? This is weird. Like we’re usually such a strong force. Yeah. My health. I’m like, why am I getting sick?

Alison
What’s going on? Why is my, like, I’m an athlete. Like I just don’t do that. That’s just not normal. So, you know, it shows up. It can show up in all sorts of different ways.

Alison
So I would say that is by far putting my big girl pants on and really putting my CEO hat on of my life to then change the direction and go, not that business.

Alison
I’m walking away and I will start again, even though I’m extremely afraid and have no real idea of how I’m going to do that or what that’s going to look like. I just need to do this now.

Alison
Now that is, for some people, that’s the right thing to do. Some people, it can be partially, like I did attempt the partial thing first, but I came to the point where that wasn’t going to work either.

Alison
I had to get out of that environment. And so I chose to do so. So that would probably be my very biggest challenge ever.

Ameeta
I mean, that’s a huge challenge. And similarly, I’ve been through a very similar thing at the beginning of COVID as well. And, you know, I think the more that I speak about that as well, the more I realized that there’s so many people that have been in situations like that.

Ameeta
And it’s really tough, you know, it’s really tough to just be able to take that step back and look at everything that’s happening in your life, you know, where you say everything’s, you know, starting to fall apart and become pear-shaped in your relationships at home and in your physical, mental, emotional body as well.

Ameeta
It’s trying to peel back the layers and understand, well, why is this happening? Get to the source of that, because that’s where you do need to go. And as difficult as it is to face that, you never want to say, ah, it’s this situation, this business, or these people that are the cause of it, we always try and work it out.

Ameeta
But if it’s not, then as difficult as it might be, we have to make that decision because long term, the more you put yourself in that situation, the more impact, negative impact it’s going to have on all areas of your life.

Ameeta
And, you know, like you said at the beginning, what is the life you want to live? What does that look like for you? And if that’s not serving you anymore, you have to be able to just stand in that and make that decision and move, be able to move forward from that.

Alison
Yeah. And I think that’s where the responsibility, the CEO of your life comes in. Exactly. Because I think when you are a person who wants to take high responsibility, we can get a little bit confused in that.

Alison
It’s take responsibility for your goals and your vision and everything else you can under that. Hmm. But if an environment is not right for you, the most responsible thing you can do is stay true to your vision and what is right for you.

Ameeta
Exactly.

Alison
Right. So rather than because otherwise you become the victim of that and that’s not responsible.

Ameeta
Very, very true. Exactly. And it’s easy, isn’t it, to play the victim. We see that happening so often. Yet, again, if you come back to being the CEO of you and your life and your goals and your vision, then playing victim isn’t going to get you any closer to that.

Alison
A hundred percent. Couldn’t agree more. And sometimes I don’t even know if we know we’re being the victim because we think we’re being responsible.

Alison
And I think, too, you spoke about there can be things that are breaking down and we can put a lot of focus on fixing those things, your health, your relationships, et cetera, which obviously there needs to be mending there, but we can still be missing the point of what’s actually causing it.

Alison
What’s causing that? And until that thing is addressed, the true resolution of everything else doesn’t occur.

Ameeta
Exactly. It’s so true. I mean, I had so much falling apart at that time as well. And as much as I was trying to fix and I guess put band-aids on all of those leaking holes at that time, everything just felt so difficult.

Ameeta
Everything just wasn’t coming together as much as I was working on it. And until I stepped away from it, from the issue and from the business, was I able to start realizing, okay, that was the cause of it all.

Ameeta
Now, when I go back and I look at my health and try and fix that, I’m in a better place mentally to be able to do that. And my body’s in a better place.

Ameeta
So the healing can actually occur. You’re taking away that flame that’s burning away and causing the damage, right? So things can settle down.

Alison
Exactly, yes. You’re taking away the thing that’s inflaming.

Ameeta
Yes, exactly.

Alison
And then you actually have an opportunity to calm down, to heal, to all those other things, which, you know, put the relationships back together, get your financial situation back on track, because you can all go very pear-shaped, very fast, from my experience.

Alison
Because you’re trying, you know, in an environment that is toxic too, or not right for you, you can spend all your time trying to manage that. And management is not CEO being a CEO, they are not the same thing.

Alison
So you’ve dropped being the CEO, and you put a management hat on, it’s not the same, right? Superglue the damn CEO hat on if you need to, right? Sometimes, like, get it on, stay there.

Alison
Because it falls off, but it’s like, oh, that’s right. Wrong hat, right? Stick the other one back. And then, like, as women, like I said, at the very beginning, it’s fluid, you have juggling hats.

Alison
But if you remember that you are the CEO of your own life, and you are the CEO in your business, it can really help, I feel, with allowing yourself to lead you where you want to go.

Ameeta
Yeah, very well said, Alison. Very well said. And you know what, I’m going to write that on a post-it note and stick it here.

Ameeta
Because there’s just so much value to just be reminded of that. When, you know, when we start flicking those hats off and putting that management hat back on, or the doer hat on, remind yourself that it’s the CEO hat that needs to be there.

Ameeta
And keeping that vision alive of where you want to be headed is so, so important. So thank you for that. Before we wrap up, Alison, I wanted to just ask you, you know, we’ve been talking a lot about the CEO hat and how important it is in every area of your life.

Ameeta
Is there any other piece of advice that you feel as women in business or women in life we need to be made aware of?

Alison
Good question. I will come back to, and really, we’ve touched on it, we’ve said it, it is okay to ask for what you want. And in fact, I’ll step one back. It’s okay to know what you want.

Alison
It’s okay to allow yourself what you want. And it’s okay to ask for what you want. Also, asking for help is not a failure.

Ameeta
Strong, strong advice. And I think we all need to hear that. And again, to remember that in those times, where we are, you know, struggling by ourselves in our business, and we think we have to do it ourselves, we have to show the world that we can do it.

Ameeta
Yet, it can feel really difficult, and being able to ask for help isn’t a bad reflection on ourselves. If anything, like you said, I think it’s actually a strength to be able to do that and identify what isn’t working for you and ask for the help to get it to work for you, right?

Ameeta
So thank you. Thank you, Alison, for all your generosity in being so open and sharing your opinions and thoughts around being the CEO and taking control of your life, your business, and that communication element.

Ameeta
So important. Thank you for bringing all of that together for us.

Alison
Thank you, Ameeta, so much for having me. It has been my absolute pleasure.

Ameeta
Thank you.

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