I Need to be a CEO – A Letter From Tyler

Dear Company…

This past year has been one heck of a rollercoaster. Up, down, rolling, shooting skyward and then gut-wrenchingly plunging downward. The ride is intense.

It’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. As we’ve experienced this past year, we jump for joy and then in the same breath want to puke right before you pass out.

There is one thing that during my reflection of this past year that I realized.

I thought that I was the only one that was on the coaster, but as I removed my emotions, took off my armor and blinders… I saw that every one of you were on it with me.

You gripped the seat while we plunged down into scary places and you laughed and raised your hands while we shot skyward.

You intentionally buckled into the ride every day when you showed up, made your cup of coffee, sat down and then held on.

Not only did you hold on, but you helped me get through it. Through the white knuckle conversations, the tears, the owning of mistakes and saying… “I f*cked up”.  Not only did I say those things, so did you. Through the gong rings and the high fives when clients said “good job”.

We all gutted it out.

We all are learning how this ride works and what makes the ride worth riding.

Well….The roller coaster will still be here.

But this time, this coming year. I want to do a better job riding the coaster and building it.

But first, this next year I need to break some chains.  Chains that I have shackled myself with and that I bolted on and put in place.  I am aware of this, and also keenly aware that if we want to build a bigger, scarier, but more exciting, and fulfilling roller coaster, I am going to need to break these.

It’s no secret that I want to be the best. The best company, the best marketing experience, delivering the best results. I want to be the best CEO, leading the best team doing their best work.

I want to scale up. To reach heights that I have only daydreamed about. To build something so big and awesome that it grows and lives on long after I have left this world.  I want to leave an impact.

I want to be an exceptional CEO. Your exceptional CEO.

As I “take off the armor” and share a bit of vulnerability. I must admit that I am still learning about what this means and what that looks like.  This, us is bigger than I ever dreamed that it could be, but we have much more to do!

I’ve heard this quote before and it always sounded nice but never sank in for me.

Until now…

On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave what would become one of the most widely quoted speeches of his career to a bunch of people who were important or something.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I commend each and every one of you for stepping onto this roller coaster and into the arena and daring greatly. You show up and tackle new projects you’ve never done before. You throw your hat into the ring for roles you’ve never had before.  

You’re thrust into positions that you’re not sure you are ready for and yet you fight and scrap to learn and you will succeed. You know the impact of possible failure, yet you show up. You go until you’re tired and spent… and keep going.

You are the ones that know what the arena is all about.

This year, I am going to be stepping into a new arena.  An arena that sometimes I feel I am not fit for.

An arena that if I am being honest and vulnerable, I am scared of and knowing the full implications of failure, an arena that terrifies me.

But it’s an arena that I wish to fight in, to grow in, and to conquer.

The implications of this are many. They are impactful and if secured and taken to heart, can and will be life-changing.

Incredible successes, hard conversations. Accountability that will sting like sweat in a deep cut but yet victory’s that will stretch you to new heights.

I want to enter the arena of great CEOs. What does this mean you ask?

As I have studied some of the greats this past, one truth has run through them all. They have given their people the opportunities to grow greatly. To support their worthy causes and grow them individually and push them to get better each and every day.

It’s going to be tough. It will be scrappy.  But as always, we will fight.

We will struggle and celebrate all at the same time on next year’s ride and in the New Year’s arena.

I want us all to step into the arena together and dare greatly this coming year.

I challenge each of you to lead your lives from the arena with exceptional impact on our clients, each other, our families and our communities.

This exact same time next year, we will all be here. Sitting in the same circle, exhausted, spent, our faces marred with the signs of struggle but at the same time, there will be fulfillment. We will know victory as well as the triumph of high achievement.

It will be because we all stepped into the arena.