Embracing the Struggles as a CEO

Embracing the Struggles as a CEO

Written By Gavin Bryce


As almost half of CEOs report battling a mental health issue, Gavin Bryce, author of ‘Unmask the Confident Leader Within discusses how being open about struggles can help people to become better leaders.

As a Leadership and Business Consultant, I’ve had the privilege of working with countless CEOs and top-level executives throughout my career. However, it has become more apparent than ever before that the relentless pursuit of success, coupled with the ever-changing landscape of business, has exposed them to unprecedented levels of stress and pressure. In a recent study by InfoQ, they revealed that nearly half of CEOs in their study reported experiencing a mental health condition, which does not surprise me.

Our world has become a swirling vortex of tumultuous unpredictability, making the role of a CEO increasingly tough. The geo-political situation, the lingering impact of the pandemic, financial uncertainties, and a fractious labour market are all factors that contribute to their mounting challenges. The weight on the shoulders of leaders is immense, and it’s no wonder they are feeling overworked, fatigued, and constantly battling stress.

Faced with such adversity, I was inspired to share my knowledge and experiences with leaders in my latest book, ‘Unmask the Confident Leader Within.’ One of the core principles of the book is ‘The Unmasking Plan,’ a powerful, yet simple approach to help leaders overcome their inner negative voice. A subversive, destructive voice that often hinders their progress and masks their confidence.

For me, this book is more than just a collection of strategies and advice; it is deeply personal. Some readers were taken aback by the level of intimacy I injected into the pages, but my response is simple—this is my story, and everyone has a story to tell.

My journey towards understanding the importance of embracing personal struggles and experiences began long ago. As a child, I was already grappling with the negative thoughts in my head, trying to understand why they seemed to hold me back. It wasn’t until I had the epiphany after much soul searching and pain that I realised I didn’t have to define myself solely by those thoughts. My personal struggles became my superpower, and I recognised that by sharing my vulnerability, I could open up vital conversations about mental health, particularly within the realm of leadership.

As I delved deeper into writing ‘Unmask the Confident Leader Within,’ I became more aware of the reluctance we often have to face the true sources of our stress and anxiety. We tend to rely on sanitised terms like ‘imposter syndrome’ or engage in coping mechanisms like meditation, without fully understanding the roots of these issues. My aim with the book is to urge leaders to confront their internal struggles head-on, to dip their toes in the waters of their past and upbringing to move forward. Often, this process of discovery can be incredibly helpful in understanding how these factors have shaped their present state of mind.

Leadership can be a lonely journey, and it is easy to get lost in the responsibilities and expectations that come with the role. My book aims to serve as a compass, guiding leaders towards embracing their personal stories and recognising that vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength. By acknowledging and unmasking their inner negative voices, leaders can build genuine self-confidence, resilience, and empathy, which, in turn, allows them to create healthier and more productive work environments for themselves and their teams.

The InfoQ study reaffirms the pressing need for nurturing confident leaders who are not afraid to face their own mental health struggles. It’s time we break free from the shackles of silence and embrace the power of authenticity. Let us build a community of leaders who are not only driven by ambition, but also empowered by their vulnerabilities and personal stories. Together, we can create a more compassionate and supportive world of leadership, one that acknowledges the challenges we face and harnesses the strength within us to overcome them.

As the demand for authentic, inspiring and emotionally-intelligent leadership continues to rise in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, ‘Unmask the Confident Leader Within‘ serves as an indispensable resource for professionals, entrepreneurs, and aspiring leaders alike. My book offers a roadmap to navigate the challenges of leadership, develop resilience, and create lasting positive change.