I realized in October of 2016 that I was burned out and wanted a path out of the CEO role. Here’s my own story and the secret internal dialogue I’m hearing as a coach to other founders.
In October of 2016, I attended a CEO bootcamp in Colorado. Basically 5-days of group-therapy. The folks present were all CEO’s of successful venture-backed startups ostensibly screened from a longer list of would-be attendees. One of the crazier but more life-changing exercises we did during the week was called a Clearness Committee.
Clearness Committees were pioneered by the Quaker community as a way to help individuals within the community find clarity about a particularly difficult decision. The structure is simple; the impact is profound.
The individual in quandary sits in the center of the circle and is surrounded by supportive community members. He or she gives a brief synopses of the decision to be made. The community members then proceed to ask the individual open-ended questions about the decision.
I’m usually one to dive in to such witchcraftery out of a sense of curiosity and adventure. Plus I was carrying a weighty question that fall. So I raised my hand and volunteered. The quandary I brought to the group went something like: