Dear SaaStr: How Do You Stay Calm as a CEO in Tougher Times? Or Even Just in General?

Q: Dear SaaStr: How Do You Stay Calm as a CEO in Tougher Times? Or Even Just in General?

Staying Calm as a CEO is so important.  You always have to remember — all eyes are on you.  If you panic a little, they panic a lot.  If you are too stressed out, everyone will be stressed out.  And if you don’t believe, even just a little — they won’t believe.  You have to be calm.  Especially in the tougher times.  If you are calm in the tougher times, they’ll believe.

So how do you do it?  When inside, you may not be calm at all?

First, you must fake it. You cannot let anyone see you look like you are losing control. Ever. Once they see that … they will lose faith.  A related post here.

Second, you need help. Ideally, 1, 2, or 3 others on the management team that can really help carry the load. So you don’t have to worry about 1, 2 or 3 key functional areas, at least not at an execution level. If you don’t have true help carrying the load — stop. Do almost nothing else. Recruit someone.

Third, you need a break. In fact, lots of them. Some way. I ran 26 miles a week, and took long walks to think. Coffee is good too, if you take it away from the office. Something. Get breaks.  A bit more here.

Fourth, you need someone to confide in. At least one. One person you can really share the things with that make you … un-calm. One great advisor, whatever it is.  This is so important.  A related post here.

Fifth, once the business is real, sustaining — you need to take a real vacation. Not just a trip where you email 4 hours a day. A real vacation. Honestly, it may be a few years until you can do this. But once you can, it will help a lot.  It’s trite to say it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s also true.

A related post here:

5 Very Good Days, and 5 Pretty Bad Days, as a SaaS CEO

calm image from here

Published on February 6, 2022

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