It’s lonely at the top. See how SA’s CEOs deal.

17 July 2024, Wednesday

Napoleon Hill was quoted as saying the ladder of success is never crowed at the top. There’s good reason for that. It’s tough at the top, and a lonely place to be. Recently we have witnessed a spate of attacks on CEOs with game plans crammed full of the wrong stuff, and even those with game plans crammed full of the right stuff. Our CEOs are under attack, and there can be no doubting that it’s getting even tougher at the top .The speed and openness of our internet era opens up the information highway. Very little remains private and taking a balance in finding fulfillment in one’s professional and personal life, can prove near impossible for today’s new age of CEOs.

Faced with all this, how does the CEO avoid becoming a heart attack statistic, when next accepting a rare-air golfing invite? More vitamins? Less carbohydrates? I doubt that will do the trick. But CEOs, who reach the pinnacle of their careers, have their own ways of dealing with the loneliness at the top. The competition commission has not made it any easier. Most of the industry forums are long gone. Internal discussion seldom ventures beyond how to take the company to the next level .So who does a CEO turn to when one needs to ‘come back to the fire’? It can be lonely! The most recent buzz word in America is mindfulness. The mother of mindfulness, Ellen Lange, was recently in the county to address audiences, but few South Africans pay much attention to such softer concepts, often choosing the far tougher ‘school of hard knocks’ road to success and significance .But is it sustainable?

On the world stage, our CEOs are only getting better and better. So, they must have a few enlightened tricks up their sleeves. Here are just three ways they apply leverage to keep themselves on top of the ladder – and healthy and happy.

They ‘take heed’ of trusted opinion

CEO’s, as captains of industry, often take on the role of mentorship to many others. But, what about themselves? What about when they themselves need to reboot? South African CEOs are not known to take personal advice easily, as most prefer to forge their own paths. They never fall short of paying good money for professional advice, but most steer well clear from paying for professional personal opinion. Instead they choose to build inner circles of trust to provide scaffolding. But even this can be a lonely path. And can also prove self-destructive. In American things are changing fast. Tony Robbin’s role as ‘CEO whisperer‘ has literally exploded into action. His coaching genius lying in how to help highly successful people reach the next level, and at the same time find personal fulfillment. He helps CEO’s marry complexity and simplicity. He helps CEOs deconstruct complexity and add authenticity and synchronicity – to stay on track when things start to get tough. He helps them reboot, and to make even better professional and personal decisions, that both lead to more profit, more prosperity. For sharing esoteric knowledge and collective wisdom with captains of industry, he gets paid seven figure fees. After all, CEOs are only human, and they know that no one ever succeeds alone .It’s just too lonely – and rarely sustainable.

South Africa CEOs are getting it right with ‘inner circles’ of professional trust, but are they getting it right on the personal front like their American counterparts?

They get their ‘geographics ‘right.

Inner circles do create a professional and personal environment where one can ‘come back to the fire’. It’s no secret that Stellenbosch has become the place of choice for South Africa’s business brilliance. A clustering of SA’s most brilliant brains. Not far behind, is the exploding aerotropolis being created by King Shaka International airport .What’s it all about? It’s about coming back to the fire. Like minded fiercely loyal SA business champions who want nothing more than to see our country prosper. To leave a legacy .A burning desire. Individual and collective ingenuity, driving our country to the next level. No longer only on a national scale, but now on a global scale. It’s a move beyond success to significance.

Stellenbosch has become the geographical home to many strategic ‘inner circles’ of unity, trust and loyalty. Geography plays a key role when it comes to retreating, refining and rebooting. Away from the hustle and bustle of Gauteng, the CEO’s build ‘haciendas and havens’ to plan their next moves – on the professional and personal fronts. A camaraderie exists.

And they pump up their ‘resolve’ with passion, purpose and priority

Great CEO’s all have unwavering FCB – Faith, Confidence and Belief. Faith comes with a powerful multiplier effect. Firstly with faith in one’s own ability to deliver, which is then backed by the universe. 1 + 1 suddenly becomes 3. They know that the universe conspires to help those that conspire to help others. Making a difference is what counts and South Africa’s new breed of globally successful CEOs are the ones getting it right. New age companies, which get the ratio just right between corporate governance and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s driving a new global game of inventiveness. And it’s this ability to impact and change the world for the better, which keeps South Africa’s CEOs both inspired and fulfilled on the professional and personal fronts. An unrelenting pride and ‘never say die’ resolve to build a greater South Africa. It’s a unique ability to see the bigger picture, and power of purpose. The ability to focus on ‘the one thing’. For instance a CEO, like Whitey Basson of Shoprite, is not selling food, he’s busy building Africa – one life at a time. Adrian Gore of Discovery, is not selling medical aid, he’s making people healthier, and enhancing and protecting their lives. Stephen Saad of Aspen, is not selling pills, he’s saving lives worldwide. There is a growing list of South African CEOs with growing ambitions, now impacting on the global stage. They all upping the game to the next level, while remaining fiercely loyal. And contributing immensely to South Africa through job creation and tax revenues. Building a nation. Building family foundations .Men and woman on a mission where passion, purpose, priority, performance and prosperity become one. Indeed South Africa is blessed to have some of the greatest CEO’s in the world. There can be few economies of a similar size that have produced the effort and entrepreneurial ingenuity that South Africa has. Loneliness at the top does get rewarded – it’s the advantage of knowing that one is impacting on millions of lives. As SA’s new age CEOs step on the gas, the future is bright, as we speed towards 2015.

* FREE eBook offer: THE GAME PLAN. Explore your Greatness. Email Rob to request your copy: robopie@the
*Robert Opie is a human brand coach, business/brand consultant, key note speaker and author of the Game Plan, a groundbreaking book that embraces potent game-changing methodologies derived from the great champions of life and health .He helps people to achieve sustained success and significance in their professional and personal lives .Visit

Greatness is not something one is given in life. Greatness is something one must take in life