Life at the top of the corporate ladder may be rewarding, but it is also just as challenging as can be expected. The most successful executives also tend to be those who put in a frighteningly high number of hours each week. These individuals are expected to make critical decisions on a daily basis, often with insufficient information or time to think, and they have no one to turn to for advice when they aren’t sure what to do. They communicate with more than a hundred people each day and may have to chat cheerfully with a client one minute and then negotiate aggressively with a supplier the next without allowing the emotions from one conversation to affect the other. The level of pressure, the load of responsibility and the amount of self-discipline required to do this successfully, day after day and year after year, is difficult to imagine.
It is often enlightening to learn more about something by studying its extremes. If you wanted to improve your race time, you wouldn’t be interested in what the majority of average runners eat or how they train, but rather try to find out what approaches the best in the world follow. Similarly, anyone who is interested in being successful at work while still finding time for their families, and managing to do all of this without going bonkers, will likely find some useful lessons from those at the corporate apex.