What CEO Really Stands For


With all the recent market madness and economic bad news, I had to revisit an old true story.


When I was in 8th grade, our school introduced us to a cutting-edge computerized assessment that promised to expertly predict our future careers. I remember the many pages of questions, filling in the circles perfectly with my #2 pencil, and then waiting weeks for the results. When the day came and our guidance instructors handed out the printed assessment reports, they were truly impressive looking! I scanned the thick, heavy pile of pages with excited anticipation to see what my future career possibilities would be. Finally on the last page, one lone answer was announced to me in just two words. I’ll give you a hint, so you can share the anticipation with me for a few seconds. The first letters of the two word title were:




What do you think E.O. stood for? Executive Officer, maybe? A terrific guess, but no. My sole career destiny, according to this impressive computer science evaluation was:


         Elevator Operator!


My excitement plummeted like a crashing…elevator. This certainly didn’t push any buttons for me! Images of asking, “Going up?” or “Going down?” all day long while stuck in a moving box flashed in my mind. It failed to elevate any hope in me, other than my passionate HOPE that I would not end up as an Elevator Operator!


These days, with the frightening economic headlines and wild ups and downs of the market, I chuckle as it seems the nightmarish questions “Going up?” and “Going down?” persist all day long. We might as well get creative to help us cope with the challenges. So, please borrow this CEO title: Chief Elevator Operator. Isn’t it true that as professional advisors, we “operate to elevate” our clients’ dreams, hopes, thoughts, behaviors, and results? I call it OPERATION ELEVATION and it’s our job in both the delightful and the frightful times.  

I actually had a dream about an elevator many years ago when my father was dying of cancer. In the dream, the doors wouldn’t open unless I entered just the right sequence of buttons in the security code. If I gave up, the doors stayed closed and everything became more chaotic. If I kept trying, the doors opened and allowed me in to where I was needed.


The elevator dream provided clarity to me and gave me hope that I could open the doors and be allowed in to discuss whatever topics were necessary. It’s an image that still helps me today. It takes a special courage to find the right “security code” to open the doors of communication in difficult times. People all have their own unique security codes that we must discover in order to fully connect with them. 


In life, we’re in perpetual “operation elevation” mode all the time. Relationships, and life in general are better when we learn to elevate our inner spirit, especially during difficult external cirucumstances.


So, regardless of what your official title or roles you might have, remember to add CEO (Chief Elevator Operator) every time you need a “lift.” Thinking as chief elevator officer also helps as we ponder our life goals and decisions each year. Best wishes to you in Operation Elevation!

Comments are closed.