A CEO, Afraid

7 min readJun 8, 2021
clank, clank

Another day.

The home exercise bike makes a clicking sound every twentieth rotation. My noise canceling headphones block out all the sounds, but my foot feels the metronomic clank, clank. Not enough to stop riding, or fix the bike (heaven forbid), but enough to make me think about getting off the bike to look at my pedal.

I don’t.

Seven fifteen in the morning. I remember when the sun wasn’t out, at this time, but the mornings are gradually brighter every day. I turn right to look out of the bay window where my exercise bike is housed. I live by the water, so close that I taste salt when I open my windows. Meniscus on the horizon throwing me off balance, while calming my heart. Reflections from the water are blinding. The fog sinks onto the topsoil. My heart hurts and the tightness in my chest lingers longer than I’d prefer. Work is starting soon and I’m mentally preparing for another day of stressful conversations and meetings that could have been emails.

After thirty minutes on the exercise bike, a shower, a protein bar, and a coffee, I’m ready to open my computer. As per usual, about 100+ emails flood my inbox; most are discarded, and I read a handful of emails. I quickly devour the protein bar, sip my coffee, clap my hands, and I am ready to start my first Zoom of the day, at 830am. I am on zoom for the next 10 hours straight, with a couple bathroom breaks and hurried lunch in the middle. At 630, I start answering the emails I missed from earlier that day, and finish doing that by 8pm or 830pm. This is my every day.

One may find this unbelievable, but I am not alone with this work schedule. Covid-19 has forced us into our homes and closed our offices, schools, playgrounds, movie theaters, and even our parks briefly. This made many of think we could accomplish more without having to account for commute time to work, to lunch, or to meetings. The result is many of us filled our calendars and forgot to allow room to breathe, eat, and just plain live. We unwind the day by watching mindless tv, reading mindless books, and getting mindlessly inebriated. Anything to dull the thought of having to do this the very next day. I am so tired of doing this every day.

At least, I thought I was.


James Miles is the CEO of MENTOR Washington, and consultant with Continua Consulting. Educator/Artist/Hustler. Learn more at www.freshprofessor.com