3 Essential Mindset Shifts When Going From Employee to CEO


Starting your own company is a HUGE accomplishment – one you should be proud of! As a new CEO, you’ll have many more hats to wear, and more responsibility – and you’ll need to be able to ebb and flow with your business!

To help you on your journey, I want to share the 3 BIG mindset shifts I made when transitioning from working for CEOs, to being a CEO. Making these shifts early on will set you apart from other business owners, and help you thrive in your new role – despite the many obstacles you’ll encounter in the coming months and years!

These 3 mindset shifts will guide you to becoming the CEO you want to be!

Become the Visionary

As an employee, you’ve been focused on your job, and your job alone. It’s not your responsibility to decide on the direction of the company, or to come up with new ideas to support its growth! As an employee, it is your job to perform the tasks in your job description.

But as a CEO, you have to focus on the big picture of the entire company, whether you have 100 employees or you are a team of one. You have to have a vision for where you’d headed, and steer the company in that direction. Along this journey, challenges will always arise and YOU will have to solve them. So own it. Looking past these temporary challenges to the bigger picture will help you better solve what comes up. You became a CEO so you could call the shots and choose the direction; it’s up to you to cultivate that vision so the company is always moving forward.


  • Think outside the box. Look for solutions outside your industry, and keep up on big trends inside AND outside your market. You never know when you can take something from another industry and translate it to your own company. Practice seeing things from a different perspective.

Become the Decider

As an employee, most decisions are made for you – especially big ones. You probably have a document of policies and procedures that dictate how situations should be handled, and your job description states what is expected of you.

But as a CEO, YOU have to make the decisions. Some of your decisions may affect your business for years to come, but you can’t let fear stop you! You have to weigh all of the factors, pull the trigger, and deal with any consequences. Not all of your decisions will be the right ones, but the worst thing you could do is not make a decision at all and let the decision be made for you – which would run the risk of missing out on great opportunities.

Sometimes in business, the hardest decision you have to make is to delegate. This company is your baby, and you’ve probably done everything yourself for a while. And it may have worked for a while! But if you want your company to grow, you’ll inevitably need to delegate certain tasks to someone else – people who can support you and who want to be part of the amazing company you have created – whether it is through outsourcing or hiring employees. You can’t be an effective CEO if you shoulder all the responsibility. There is a great Skimm’d podcast with Jillian Michaels that talks about this subject (the whole episode is great, but you can skip to 18:00 for the discussion about delegation).


  • Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. You’re at the helm, but it takes more than a captain to run the ship. Check your ego at the door. Seek advice and support. Whether that is through an actual board of directors or a virtual one, make sure that they are supporting you in areas you may not be strong in. Having people to go to for counsel will make decisions easier.

Become Resilient

Employees can get sidetracked by negativity and it can affect their work. Whether it is a negative review, an angry customer, or a fight with a coworker. This affects the work environment, sometimes for days or weeks. It is like a disease and can spread to others.

But as CEO, you cannot let negativity run the show. You have too much to do, and too much is riding on you staying focused! Take in what is happening, address it, learn from it, and move on.


  • Practice consistent self-care. Taking care of yourself is essential for being the most effective CEO you can be. Take the time you need to recharge and be your best self, so you can bring your A-game to your business.


Become the Leader

Building on your role as the visionary, you also need to be a leader. Being a visionary is all about holding the big-picture vision for the future of the company. Being a leader is about being a role model for your employees and other stakeholders, lifting them up, and creating a thriving culture. Even if you don’t have a team of employees yet, keep it in mind because eventually you will, and they’ll look to you for leadership. Being a leader is a skill – and like all skills, you have to develop it! Start practicing the skills now, because a great leader will be able to take a great team and a great company to the next level.

One of my favorite books on the subject is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell. I highly recommend reading it!


  • Never stop learning. Continue reading and taking classes inside and outside your field. Seek out personal development opportunities, whether at a conference or through private coaching.

Becoming a CEO is a huge step and accomplishment! There will be big changes ahead, and with these mindset shifts you’ll navigate them successfully. And don’t worry – if some of these shifts feel difficult or overwhelming, I have a new course (The Mindset Plan) to help you along the way, check it out here!

This last bit of advice, I want you to carry always, both professionally and personally.

Never be scared to make mistakes.

Even CEOs are human. We are all on a journey of learning. If you make a mistake, fix it, learn from it, and move on! #progressnotperfection

**Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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