“Be the CEO of your life!”

These words are often linked to the idea of leading yourself. They are meant to be empowering. Inspiring. Instilling one with a sense of confidence. 

But after years of increasing global turbulence—the kind that rattles the soul–it is hard for me not to sigh at that. To roll my eyes. Today, I find myself withdrawing from the assumptive masculine authority of that statement.

Heavy with intonations of execution, delivery, and orderliness, the CEO metaphor looks comically overdressed for today’s chaotic world in its three-piece suit.

Thanks anyway, but my life doesn’t need a CEO…

So, what does it need, then? What does it mean to lead ourselves in today’s ever- and rapidly-changing world?

It calls for adaptability. 

It calls for grounding. 

It calls for humility. 

It calls for grace. 

It calls for soul. 

We don’t need to be the CEO of our lives. We need to be the Sherpa: an expert climber, adept at adapting. 

Not all of the Sherpa people of Tibet become mountaineers who summit Everest. But the ones who do approach their vocation with deep spirituality, humility, and reverence. They know what they are up against cannot be conquered. It must be treated as a conversation between them, the mountain, and a force beyond. Domination is not the goal. Those who seek to dominate Everest as their end game will likely face their end indeed.

In his book, Touching My Father’s Soul, Lead Climber for the 1996 Everest IMAX expedition Jamling Tenzing Norgay says,

“…we hope that we have been imbued with enough tsin-lap to handle any situation. Tsin-lap is roughly translated as “blessing” but it really means the mental ability and strength to allow our minds to be changed in the direction of complete awareness.”

To me, complete awareness means recognizing the entirety of our circumstances and our own roles within them. It means allowing more into our peripheral vision, leading to a clear understanding of opportunity, and of threat. It means detaching from a particular outcome and allowing other unexpected outcomes to emerge. To know what to embrace, what to fight, and what to let go of.

This is what we need to lead ourselves today. A whole lot less overdressed CEO-ness, and a whole lot more of tsin-lap.

Wendy Hultmark, CPC, is a coach who works with women in leadership to flip the script for today’s changing world.

Learn more at www.wendyhultmark.com.