Why leaders must own their sense of worth.

To avoid burnout and scale as leaders, we must take back the judgment of our own worth

The faltering father

I found myself doing something that I feel to be quite shameful recently. I was kneeling down, getting in the face of my eight-year-old son, and raising my voice to him.

  • From her leadership team
  • From her business partners
  • From her romantic partner

The setup we often share

I see this in myself first. As a coach, I also see it in the lives of dozens of CEOs and leaders: this handing over of our well-being to another. To another person, to the success of our business, or to some amorphous stranger (“I want to prove them wrong!”)

All hail the selfless leader

Those of us who come into leadership with this background are often praised for our willingness to put the needs, interests, and well-being of our employees or teams ahead of our own.

Taking off the mask

My first time in therapy was back in college. I remember my therapist looking at me and saying, “We’ve been talking about some really hard topics today. Yet the expression on your face hasn’t changed. In fact, you’ve shown almost no expression.”

If I cannot ‘feel’ happy, I will let your happiness be my gauge

With these dynamics simmering for so many leaders, it is no surprise many of us find ourselves placing our happiness and sense of well-being in the hands of others.

Hitting the wall

Place our well-being in the hands of anything external, and we will eventually wake up to find ourselves in some degree of burnout and resentment.

  • Some talk about fits of rage.
  • Others drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Many share about anxiety or depression, anger turned inward.

Where can change begin?

With all of these shared experiences and our own versions of this familiar story, where might change begin?

  • “Whatever I do, I am always alone.”
  • “If I share what’s really going on for me, no one will want to work with me, or be with me, or help me.”

The benefits of examining our stories

Working on our own stories, exploring ways to take back our own sense of well-being, can pay tremendous dividends. Both for us as humans and also for us as leaders.

Now is the time to take back your own sense of worth

To evolve and scale as leaders, we must take back our sense of well-being, our identities.



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Matt Munson

CEO coach @ sanitylabs.co. Angel investor. Startup founder. Committed to helping leaders feel less alone in the journey.