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Emotional ups and downs of being a CEO

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South Korean native Tae Hea Nahm went through the ups and downs of an entrepreneur in founding Storm Ventures, a venture capital firm.

“As CEO, I learned firsthand what an emotional roller coaster it is to run a company,” he says. “You can feel so high and so low in the space of a single day. Now, when I work with startup CEOs and they tell me life is so great, I figure it’s never that great, and when they tell me it’s so bad, it’s never so bad.”

He also learned that leaders have to show faith even as they remain clear-eyed skeptics.

“The other thing I learned as CEO is that it’s very lonely. If you share all the doubts and fears with people, then people sort of freak out,” he says.

“On the one hand, you have to appear like Moses, so that people believe that you’re going to take them to the Promised Land. And you have to present a very simple, clear path to success. On the other hand, if you just believe all of that, you can easily run the company off a cliff.”

His bottom line: “Being CEO requires a lot of faith and passion, but for making decisions, sometimes truth and faith are different.”

— Adapted from “A Believer and a Skeptic in One,” interview with Adam Bryant, The New York Times.

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