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Dear Sharpshooter CEO,

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

A photo and shot by Holly Manno

As I stood beside our formidable CEO Mr. X, my feet throbbed beyond comprehension. It was the last day and the final few hours of a week-long conference in Philadelphia. Being from the West Coast, the three-hour time difference and sixteen-hour workdays had worn me down. The conference floor traffic was dwindling and some of the vendors were already starting to pack up.

I couldn't stifle my yawn quickly enough, "I apologize," I said. " I haven't had much sleep on this trip and I guess it is catching up with me."

Mr. X looked down at me and replied, "I personally think that anything beyond two hours of sleep a night is overindulgent."

I was at a loss for words and grateful when another of the executives joined us. For years I've thought of that exchange and in my mind, I've told him off. While I was a productive team member and decently paid, I knew that my compensation wasn't in the same galaxy as his. My arrogance rationalized that was the reason he was willing to work like a robot.

But, why did I assume this man had put his life aside, working like a machine for money? For the past year, I have worked long hours. On many mornings I've woken before dawn because I couldn't wait to get started. So far, I haven't earned a penny, and I am in no position to live without an income. Still, I can't stop myself and my attention is so focused on writing, that hours pass, and I sometimes forget to eat.

I sit here today, remembering that exchange with a fresh perspective. I chastise myself for judging the "Sharpshooter CEO" and I thank him for saying what he didn't. Until you find something you can't wait to wake up and do, you'll always think the CEO is in it for the money. Don't get me wrong - he likes the money. It's the manifestation of his prowess, but it's not what drives him. What drives you?

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