Skip to content

If You’ve Hit Your Leadership Limit… What’s Your Plan B? (#185)

TCL Illustration 185

The Confident Leader


At lunch the other day, I shared with three CEOs a recent article about top leaders opting out of leadership at an increasing rate. In unison, my table mates chimed in, “I’ve considered it. In fact, I have a Plan B.” I was floored by the rest of the conversation. 

“Having a Plan B is like having an umbrella in your back pocket – it might not always rain, but when it does, you’ll be glad you have it… unless you forgot your pants too.” 


This Week’s Edition

Leadership Doubt is so powerful it can cause successful leaders to question whether they should even be leaders.

Clarify Your Thinking

These three successful CEOs are at the top of their game with credentials longer than the menu at our bistro. Why would they have a Plan B? 

CEO #1: If my current gig doesn’t work out, I’ll be a security guard like the guy in my building. His job looks great. He doesn’t have to figure out what to wear, he just wears his uniform, smiles, and greets people every day.

CEO #2: I’d be a delivery guy. I see our UPS driver every day, and I dream about how great it feels to have an empty truck at the end of the day. 

CEO #3: I’d work at Chick-fil-A. Not the manager – that’s too much work. Just a worker bee cleaning up, saying “hi” to everyone and punching out after my shift is over.

“What?” I asked. “Why would you, titans of industry, whom others admire, contemplate other jobs at the height of your success well before you are considering retirement?” They didn’t answer. 

These comments speak directly to the concept of Leadership Doubt. Leaders who are generally successful and confident in 9 out of 10 aspects of their leadership role, may stumble across that 10th aspect, something they are not able to fix or solve. At this point, doubt sets in.

Old Thinking: I’ve been dreading this day, the leadership challenge I can’t solve. Uh… oh, here it is. I can’t tell anyone. They expect me to have the answers. I must have hit my leadership limit. Maybe this is the end of the road. I wonder if I should move to Plan B.

New Thinking: Doubt comes with the territory. Who can I speak to about my doubt and move past it to a workable solution? I can grow through this challenge even if I don’t know how to solve it right now by myself.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Sometimes the leadership life is tough. Many articles are being written about the challenges of the modern-day CEO. In fact, Robert Glazer is dedicating a considerable amount of research and writing to the topic of burnout among top leaders. We may be at epidemic levels.

It’s so bad that leaders are looking for the exit, thinking about other jobs that they believe will solve the challenges and dilemmas they are facing in their current roles. 

Consider the following to stay in the leadership game:

  1. Join a confidential, professional organization for leaders to share your dilemmas and seek counsel.
  2. Seek out a mentor who has been through the same situation.
  3. Hire an executive coach.

The world needs leaders. Don’t let doubt count you out. We need you. Embrace your doubt. It tells you everything you need to know about the thinking that needs to change and the skill to be developed.  

Boost Your Performance

To hear more from the CEO lunch tune into this week’s video. The Plan B’s mentioned by each of them weren’t in fact Plan B’s at all.

What’s Your Opinion?

What do you need to do today to overcome your leadership doubt? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


Let’s Connect

Follow me on LinkedinFacebook and Twitter.

What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.