The CEO and the toddler

I can’t be the only one with very good intentions but doesn’t follow through on said intentions. Why do we decide to do one thing, but when the time comes, we do something totally different, often the easiest thing with the least impact? What if there was an analogy to explain why this happens? The way that I see it, within us, there is a CEO (the version of us that sets good intentions) and a toddler (the version of us that would rather be doing something totally different). 

The toddler won this morning.

Let me give you an example.

Last night as I was going to bed, I had excellent intentions for my week. I would wake up early, journal, meditate for a few minutes, and maybe even exercise. When my alarm clock rang this morning, all I could think about was how cold it was outside the bed (it was raining), how warm I was inside the bed, and how sleepy I was. Now, unlike many people, I do not snooze my alarm. I switch it off, roll over, and go on sleeping, but that’s a whole other issue. 😅😅😅 

So, like many mornings before this one, when I finally woke up, all I had time to do was take a quick shower and make my bed before leaving. That is to say that in the battle for a productive morning, the toddler won today. 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

But I did get to work on time this morning, so the CEO must be doing something right. 

When i finally woke up this morning Source

Who is the CEO?

Before explaining who the CEO is, it may be important to understand what a CEO does. 

According to Career Explorer

… for the most part they run the company, and are responsible for the vision, mission, direction, and the formulation and implementation of a strategic plan to make a company successful.

So think of the CEO as the higher version of you. They know where you want to be and often tell you how to go in that direction. They are the ones that remind you of that task you need to do, that you had said you would start exercising more and cut on processed sugar, etc. 

What I imagine working with a toddler would be like irl Source

Who is the toddler

The toddler is not very different from the procrastination monkey in Tim Urban’s Ted Talk on why we procrastinate. (If you haven’t watched it, please make a point to do so, if possible, immediately after finishing this article). Tim explains that the procrastination monkey lives very much in the present moment and often chooses instant gratification. For them, just like for the toddler and for me this morning, what matters is what is most comfortable now, all plans and the CEO be damned. 

Like the procrastination monkey and a typical toddler, logic doesn’t always get them moving. (Neither do threats of self-inflicted punishments)

What is adulting?

Adulting: Where no one has all the answers, but we like to pretend like we do Source

In line with this analogy, allow me to redefine adulting. Successful adulting is learning how to get the CEO and the toddler to work together to achieve your goals. Note that I didn’t say ‘learning how to bulldoze the toddler into doing everything the CEO wants to do.’ That would be a recipe for a very successful but unhappy adult. 

How do I manage the CEO and the toddler?

The good news is that you can learn how to manage the toddler and the CEO. Often, this starts with understanding what executive functioning skills you are struggling with. Unfortunately, there is no singular way to do this. Every individual is different. What makes your inner toddler happy and mine happy could be very different. Additionally, every CEO has a different definition of success besides having different goals. 

My blog aims to offer information, tools, tips and strategies that help you achieve your goals in a way that doesn’t leave you miserable and disgruntled. Your role is to test the various tools to determine what works for you. 

In conclusion

Within us are a CEO and a toddler. The CEO is very future-focused and wants to get you to do what you need to do in line with your dreams and goals. On the other hand, the toddler lives in this moment and just wants to be as happy and comfortable as possible. Successful adulting is learning how to get them to work together. Through experimenting, you can get yourself to do more of what you wish to do without bulldozing the toddler into doing things the CEO’s way.

If you find that the toddler is winning often in your attempts at successful adulting, don’t worry. In future articles, I will provide tips and tricks to help you stay on top.

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