Christelle Pillot: Become the CEO of your Life
Christelle Pillot is a mother, certified coach and the founder of Freedom Catcher Academy, where she helps female professionals get the best out of their circumstances. Below, she shares tips that will inspire and encourage you to take charge of your life and become fulfilled.
What it means to become the CEO of your life
It all started with my deep and personal aspiration to create a meaningful life. My initial corporate jobs were in industrial and pharmaceutical operations and sales, because of my Chemical Engineering degree. On the surface, things seemed wonderful. However, I could not ignore the growing dissatisfaction inside me. I felt inadequate and experienced recurring bouts of depression. In 2013, I was a mere shadow of myself. I was unhappy with myself and the world. I had inadequate feelings as a mother to my children, I was not satisfied with my performance at work, and my relationship with my husband was deteriorating.
At the end of 2013, I made the conscious decision to take charge of my life and redesign it by making a significant change in my line of work, which in turn had an impact on my personal life. I decided to stop whining and stop asking for permission to do things that I thought were in my best interest. It is the essence of what it means to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of your own life.
It is about accepting responsibility for your life and determining the actions that will lead to your personal happiness. You investigate the path that your life ought to take, you think about your mission and your vision, you look for and locate the resources that you need, you investigate the various effects that you have on your surroundings, and you develop in accordance with the principles that guide you. In other words, you do for your life what a CEO does for their company. This is something that every CEO does for their organisation. Why not do it for what is ultimately our most important task while we are here on earth, which is to live a life that is meaningful and productive?
How to begin
It is a 3-step journey:
- Know yourself.
This involves coming to a deeper understanding of who you are. You have to learn to accept the shadowy elements of yourself, including your limitations, anxieties, and inadequacies. Acceptance allows you to embrace your abilities and strengths, allowing you to bring them to light and utilise them to their greatest potential. When I first started working with clients, I saw a number of people who refused to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. We need to recognise both the Yin and the Yang. Only then can you fully use your potential, enter your uniqueness, and discover your Zone of Genius. When you have assessed a realistic and complete view of yourself, you can begin to plot how your uniqueness can contribute to your world.
- Choose your mission.
After gaining a better understanding of who you are, it is time to define how you will put your skills, experiences, and knowledge to use in order to create a life in accordance with your aspirations, values, mission, and vision.
When unwanted limiting thoughts pop up like balloons, such as: “It is not possible”, “I am not capable”, “I should be satisfied”, “I am crazy”, “It is selfish”, those are typical negative thoughts you hear in the background. The magic happens when you challenge these beliefs and pop these balloons one by one. With enough practice from the first step, you are now more grounded to reassure your brain, evaluate different options, and take all the parameters or elements into account. Gradually, your life plan will take shape, and everything will begin to make sense.
- Choose yourself.
Let me share a side story. At the beginning of 2018, I began collaborating with a pharmaceutical firm as a facilitator for leadership workshops. They had turnover problems and had just hired a new CEO. This was the third Chief Executive Officer in three years. But in 2022, he is still serving in the same capacity, and the business continues to thrive. Do not, under any circumstances, give up your role as CEO of your life. If you resign from your position, someone else will fill it, and I can promise that this person will not have your best interest in mind. Therefore, exercise patience, work on improving yourself, and have faith in yourself and soldier on. My motto is “keep calm and carry on”
Hearing someone say, “I can not, because of my children” breaks my heart every time I hear it. For me, it was “I want to, because of my children “. Family is part of the equation. I am not arguing that having a family makes things simpler, although, having a family is a real success driver. A strong family can be your best asset. My most valuable life lessons have come to me through my spouse and my three children.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” It is an African proverb. We are talking about becoming the CEO of our lives, not simply of our careers. It is a multi-entry equation, which emphasises the necessity of recognising what is essential to us. Then, learning how to prioritise, organise, and simplify our agendas and actions, in order to focus on what matters and get the results we desire.
Another technique to overcome challenges that I share with my clients is this phrase: “Everything happens for a reason, either I win or I learn.” What happens in our lives reflects our thoughts, emotions, as well as our belief system. It is critical to check in or evaluate (daily or weekly) and consciously make notes of our triumphs and our lessons. This will help us solve difficulties, plan our next step, and adjust our behaviour accordingly.
I have a 7-step formula to overcome stress that I love and use all the time:
- Expect stress to emerge. As you grow and step outside of your comfort zone, tension will appear, so expect and accept it. This acknowledgement alone helps tremendously. Try it.
- Revisit your previous successes/triumphs. You will feel more empowered and have more energy to solve problems and overcome challenges.
- Practice deep slow breathing. Meditate if you can (I cannot imagine a life without meditation, it is my anchor for more balance). Cardiac coherence can destress your body and mind. This will bring you more mind space and wisdom.
- Acknowledge the problem but focus on the solutions, the results you want to see instead of the problems.
- Plan and think about the next step – including contingencies.
- Take action and execute the plan.
- Celebrate the effort – not only the results. Be proud of what you have done and what you have learned in the process. This leads to growth.
Get a business coach
If you want to waste time, lose money, take unnecessary risks, or maybe impair your relationship with your family and health, then do not hire a coach. I know this answer is controversial, but I mean it. A skilled coach can help you see your blind spots since they are not emotionally influenced or invested and hence, have a more objective perspective. They will have strategies that allow them to reflect deeply on the transformation process, in order to minimise unneeded risks and stress. Business coaches have substantial experience in guiding others who have experienced similar challenges and are also trained with appropriate accreditation.
After completing the process on my own, partially alone and then partially mentored by another coach, I can confidently state that I lost time and money the entire time I was alone in my journey to self-improvement. My saving grace was my affinity for personal development at an early age, and I was able to overcome some of the psychological obstacles on my own. However, I wasted time and money on the business and mindset aspects. Everything changed once I met the right coaches for me.
Get the results you desire
At the beginning of the coaching, we make an audit.
The first prerequisite to a desired result, is a clear statement of your objectives. We have to define what matters, your non-negotiables and values linked to that. We make a realistic assessment of how to reach your goals and the actions you need to take. We then identify the quantifiable and non-quantifiable variables in your life; the person you aspire to be, even the emotion you like to feel the most.
This audit is our roadmap to measure our actual steps, versus the direction we have set. If you continue to follow this roadmap, you are likely to arrive at your chosen destination: A meaningful life. It is the technique that I use for myself, and I can only recommend it.