How do CEOs stay calm? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Mario Peshev, CEO at DevriX, on Quora:

German philosopher named Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

In other words - CEOs grow a thick skin over time.

When a major problem happens, you have to options - suck it up and find a solution of the problem, or give up. Most CEOs would rather grind than get back to a regular 9-to-5 job, especially the entrepreneurial kind.

In 1519, a Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernán Cortés pursued the treasures of the Aztecs with 11 ships and a crew of 100 sailors and 500 soldiers. His army was vastly outnumbered and some soldiers tried to escape. Cortés gave an order to burn the ships and left no choice but fight until their last breath.

That wasn't the end for everyone. Part of the army survived and they got a hold of the treasure.

At first, calmness is a myth. People are emotional by nature and react to any deviations of their plan. With time, those who choose to be in the captain's spot until the end see problems that have to be solved and suppress the emotional part that is dragging them down.

Plenty of problems appear to be critical, but at the end, they should be solved.

  • Lost a client? Go out and start selling.
  • Broken feature in the product? Get the tech team on it and release a fix.
  • Constant regressions from the core team? Talk to the CTO and figure out what's the long-term sustainable strategy.
  • Have to work late night for a proposal? Suck it up, make it happen, see if there's a way to offload that or how to mitigate last-minute changes later on.

The role of a CEO isn't easy in the first place. Constant changes and surprises are not abnormal and at some point, they become a daily routine.

If being a CEO is among your highest priorities, work hard and make it work. If you are constantly complaining about lack of sleep, no time for family or friends, failing to see the future ahead, figure out a long-term solution within the business, find a replacement of yours or simply go back to a regular 9-to-5 and disregard all responsibilities.

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Published on: Jul 18, 2017