Insights from Dana
The Archetypes of Overloaded Business Owners and Swamped CEOs

Building your business is a journey of growth that goes far beyond experience or acumen. It is an ongoing process of professional development and personal expansion, a means of challenging not only what you are capable of, but also what you believe to be true about the world around you.

And that is where sh*t gets uncomfortable because we live in a society that idealizes the exhausted entrepreneur, the busy business owner, the swamped CEO. We’re steeped in the cultural myth that you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, sacrificing all of your time, energy, and your life beyond your business for as long as it takes to achieve success.  

These internalized beliefs around what it means to do and be enough, to work hard, and to excel become the lens you apply to your business. 

While your company carries the hallmarks of your unique, individual perspective, these shared narratives translate into predictable plateaus along the hero’s journey that is building your business, crafting illuminating archetypes of the entrepreneurial experience. 

The 5 Archetypes of Swamped CEOs

Inevitably, every entrepreneur comes to a point where growing their company to the next level means unpacking these unconscious beliefs and recognizing the patterns of behavior that have caused them to become the bottleneck in their business. 

Because your human brain is wired to reinforce your existing beliefs, learning to recognize how these unconscious narratives manifest in your lived experiences as a business owner is the first step towards overcoming these internal obstacles. 

I’ve spent three decades building businesses and coaching industry leaders, so trust me when I say it’s not just you. I’ve seen these archetypes of busy business owners and swamped CEOs play out time and time again. 

The Juggler

Mired in the minutiae of managing their business, The Juggler is responsible for keeping all the balls in the air. While they never wanted to be the one to do it all alone, this immersion has led them to develop keen insight into the inner workings of their business. They just don’t have the time or energy to bring that magic to the table. They feel like if they stop juggling for even a second, their business will fall apart.

Lacking effective systems and support to manage the workload, they’re time-poor, exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to see a way out. By trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, The Juggler becomes the bottleneck in their business. 

The Atlas

Atlas strives to deliver excellence in everything they do. Unlike The Juggler, they want and need to control everything because they feel it’s the only way to ensure it’s done properly. From their perspective, they might as well do it themselves and make sure it’s done right the first time. 

Atlas is so busy micromanaging the minutiae that they have no time to do their own work as the Leader and Visionary of their company. Their obsession with getting it right and doing it all leads to inertia instead of growth. Eventually, building their business begins to feel like carrying the weight of the world.

The Speedster

They say that success doesn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t stop The Speedster from trying. They’re passionate about making progress, and they aren’t going to let anything stand in their way. 

While other business owners weigh the pros and cons, The Speedster runs with their gut instincts. They’re in such a hurry to achieve their goals that they constantly risk going up in flames. This all-or-nothing approach leaves Speedsters with tunnel vision, unable to see the big picture of their business. 

The Zombie

On the other end of the spectrum, The Zombie has lost their spark of inspiration – and their motivation. Business might even be booming, but they’re not in a place to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They’re still doggedly showing up, but they aren’t present. They’re just going through the motions.

The embodiment of the burnt-out business owner, The Zombie’s disillusioned perspective prevents them from seeing new possibilities and opportunities for growth.

The Self-Studier

The Self-Studier can see where they want to go, and they’ve tried everything they can to figure out how to get there. They’ve read all the books and taken all the courses, but no matter what they try, the so-called solutions never seem to work out quite the way they’re supposed to. 

The Self-Studier’s gifts and strengths have been stifled by endlessly trying to fit their vision into someone else’s template of success. They’re beginning to doubt that anything will ever work and are skeptical of seeking support.

Breaking Through the Bottleneck 

In taking intentional action to get to the roots of these behaviors and unravel these unconscious beliefs, you expand your personal perspective and begin to write your own narrative…

The Juggler discovers a new perspective where their strengths – their dedication, accountability, and personal understanding of their business – empower them to achieve authentic, sustainable success.

Atlas learns to leverage their passion and standard for excellence to catapult their business to heights beyond their wildest dreams.

Speedster’s determination to discover exactly what they are capable of opens endless opportunities for growth, adventure, and success. (Both within their business and beyond.)

The Zombie’s disillusionment becomes an invitation to reimagine the way they’re building their business and living their lives. This is what empowers them to redefine success on their own terms and reclaim their role as the Creative Visionary of their company.

The Self-Studier’s expansive business acumen empowers them to see opportunities where others only see obstacles, enabling them to forge their own path to sustainable, long-term success.

Unlock Your Swamped CEO Archetype

These entrepreneurial archetypes shine a light on the self-defeating patterns born of our social norms and unconscious beliefs. 

They also illuminate the strategic next steps necessary to get out of your own way and back to building a business and a life you love to lead.

Take the Swamped CEO business assessment to identify your archetype and get actionable, step-by-step guidance to break through the bottleneck of your limiting beliefs and into a more expansive perspective.

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