EP. 4: How Cory Miller, CEO of iThemes, is Managing Happiness

EPISODE 4 of the Managing Happiness Show!

An honest and motivating conversation with iTheme’s CEO Cory Miller – a proud husband, father, and entrepreneur with the bold mission to make people’s lives awesome.

Having Cory Miller as a guest on the show was a real pleasure! He is a passionate entrepreneur who believes in finding and maintaining work happiness that aligns with your purpose.

Cory started iThemes in 2008. The company builds web design software and offers cutting-edge web design training for thousands of customers around the globe. In addition, Cory is a happily married man with two children.

In this episode of the Managing Happiness show, he shares how he maintains his work-life balance through peer support groups.

The importance of peer-to-peer sharing

Many entrepreneurs end up living a life that the rest of the world doesn’t understand. They suffer in secret if they don’t find like-minded individuals with whom they can share their ups and downs.

Cory joined his first peer support group 6 years ago. The peer groups consist of 7-8 entrepreneurs who gather on a regular basis. They share their life experiences and offer each other support and understanding. They don’t discuss business strategies. The goal is to open up about their personal lives, share their family struggles and get the feeling that they are not alone.

Cory says that these groups have exponentially changed his happiness and health.

We’re brothers in arms here, we’ve been through stuff, we know what it is to live this crazy, ludicrous, awesome life that’s called entrepreneurship.

Recently, Cory has become a facilitator at ZenTribes – groups of entrepreneurs walking together, sharing stories, experiences and life in order to encourage and support one another. The ZenTribe groups are facilitated by the expertise of a psychologist and an experienced founder.

Sharing experience vs. giving advice

The group is not about giving advice, it is about sharing experience. Cory believes that sharing a story of how you coped with a certain situation is way more powerful than telling the other person what to do.

If there is something that you share, an issue, I could say “Hey, here’s a parallel story and here’s what happened”. Good, bad, ugly, whatever, and then you get to draw your truths from that.

Crisis management at home and in the office

Both Cory and David have had periods of “a perfect storm” where business issues meet personal tragedies and it seems like the whole world crumbles. It could be the loss of a family member, a divorce, your company being hacked or all together.

Such events put you in a crisis mode and it requires huge emotional strength to cope with them. However, life happens and sometimes the best you can do is to put the mask on and continue leading the people around you.

Lessons learned from the first marriage

Cory has been married two times. The reason for his divorce was a lack of alignment with his ex-wife. However, he shares that he doesn’t have any regrets and appreciates all the lessons learned from this tough life experience.

His divorce helped him understand exactly what he wanted from life and who he wanted in life. He understood that not every relationship is meant to last forever. This has made him happier in every aspect.

Currently, Cory is very happy with his wife Lindsey and their family. They do regular check-ins to make sure they are aligned with each other and walk on the same path.

In my first marriage, I didn’t have a partner. In this marriage, I have a partner, a lover, spouse, a best friend. Our stars are aligned, we’re looking at the same stars.

Wearing the CEO hat and the Dad hat

Cory realized that he had completely different roles in the office and at home. He designed the concept of the CEO hat and the Dad hat, to illustrate better the mindshift he experiences when he switches from one to the other.

At iThemes, Cory works with adults who respect and trust his decisions. The team works collaboratively, but yet he has the last word because he wears the CEO hat.

On the other hand, when he goes home, he deals with his children and wife which is a completely different setting. His wife who is an equal 50/50 partner in their marriage, so he is not a sole decision maker anymore. Cory calls this change in his role and responsibilities “the Dad hat”.

I am not the CEO at home, I am a co-leader.

Understanding the difference between the two situations is very important because it helps him make the right decisions.

Personal vision statement

Cory’s personal and business vision statement is “Make people’s lives awesome”.

We make our team’s lives awesome, our customer’s lives awesome, our partner’s lives awesome.

He has found the significance in life in helping people. This drives him and his team to work hard and help web design businesses grow. It also drives him in his mission to eradicate and erase the stigma of mental health on the planet. He wants to bring awareness about the mental problems some entrepreneurs have and create an environment where people can talk about this freely and get support.

I’m a serial entrepreneur and I write about things I have learned along the way. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and executives to find success and harmony in business and at home.

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