We have all had a different CEO life yet despite this diversity most of us would have experienced at different times:

  • Pressure and excitement
  • Some frustration but a sense of satisfaction and achievement
  • The ability to achieve significant change
  • You were in control, had an identity and a real purpose
  • You had a lot of people around you wanting your time and approval
  • You had a real sense of belonging

Now you have stepped back from the CEO role and no longer in full-time work you may have achieved some of the following:

  • Gained a sense of freedom
  • Relaxed and regained your health and fitness
  • Re-established important relationships
  • Travelled for fun!
  • Gained some spontaneity in your life
  • Been able to do all the golfing, sailing, skiing, etc. you want, along with other hobbies.

This euphoria will or may have lasted varying times for each of you, and it may be continuing for you.

However, I know some of you are starting to feel, when the novelty wears off, something is missing, or it may be right at the surface for you.

We are driven by our sense of identity, of who we are. Previously when asked about yourself, you may well have described yourself regarding your work and: ‘I work for AB Corporation.’ When we leave the CEO role, we experience some loss of relationships and feelings of being outside the company with which we have identified ourselves for so long. Perhaps less so for the corporate CEOs who have moved around but certainly is the case for many who led/owned private companies.

During all your studies, reading and learning you would have come across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and after the two lowest and most basic needs of health, food, and sleep then safety needs, the next most important need is a sense of belonging.

Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with emotions. You belonged to the companies you led, and you probably felt you belonged in your executive teams.

You may be in various groups or organizations now – Golf Club, Rotary, Probus, Church, or hobby based club and they provide some activities to share with others. However, beyond this casual and social association, there may be times when you would like to share some thoughts and feelings that due to their intimacy are beyond these current relationships. You also want to keep learning and keep in touch with the world around you.

You want to be with your peers, others who have shared your journey and faced similar issues and experiences. People you can respect, trust and be willing to share and contribute to discussions at a higher level in total confidentiality.

That is what lies behind the formation of encore groups.

Please feel free to share your own story, experiences, and thoughts and start the encore process of sharing and contributing.