Ed Cheely met ShareFile founder Jesse Lipson in their days at Duke University, where they first spent time pondering the meaning of life in philosophy classes before eventually turning to entrepreneurial pursuits. An early executive at ShareFile before the Citrix acquisition, he’s now the senior director of sales in our division, responsible for — among tons of other things — the nearly 300 (and counting!) sales people who support ShareFile.
To find out how he handles such a loaded plate, I sat down with Ed for a brief Q&A on what he does in a typical day.
Q: What is your routine in the morning?
EC: I often work late, so it depends on how much energy I have when I wake up. If I’ve met my goal of seven to eight hours of sleep, I can get ready and still have an hour of meditation before heading to the office.
If I haven’t gotten enough sleep, I usually hit snooze a few times and then check email until my brain wakes up. I seem to have developed a peculiar habit of getting out of bed just in time to be five minutes late for my first meeting. It’s a character flaw I hope to solve before I’m 40.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job and how do you handle it?
EC: Balancing my time with managing a growth of more than 100 percent year-over-year has presented the biggest challenge for me since becoming a part of Citrix. I get 300 to 400 emails a day and have a calendar booked solid with meetings, all on top of traveling about 90 percent of the time. Dealing with it takes a strong work ethic and endurance. But I have a real love for the work and the people, which makes it worthwhile.
And there’s only so much time in a day, so you have to learn to draw a line somewhere. I try to focus on the most important things like learning to say no politely and being willing to let some problems go unsolved. Letting go of wanting everything to be perfect and everyone to be happy has been tough, but essential.
Q: What is the best — and worst — part of your typical day?
EC: I love making a connection with someone, whether it’s a team member or a customer, while we solve a problem together. When I can help others on a personal or professional level, it makes me really happy. And solving problems, in general, to grow the business and deliver great solutions to customers is really rewarding.
The worst is when I have back-to-back meetings and feel like less than 50 percent of them were really useful. Another thing that really drives me crazy is when I see things failing to move forward because of fear, ignorance or just being lazy. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen a lot here at Citrix, but the larger your company gets the more you have to lose, of course, so conquering fear of failure is a huge challenge!
Q: What are some of the things that help you manage everything?
EC: I couldn’t get by without my assistant, Jan, and my team of directors and managers, for sure. We have such caring, passionate and talented people — it consistently blows my mind.
I also find that meditation gives me a clear mind and a deeper sense of self-awareness. It helps me know who I am and what I’m doing, and it lets me reflect on all of the dumb things I’ve done that I need to learn from or make amends for. Since it seems to be quite a fad these days, maybe someday I’ll be able to say that I was all into meditation and mindfulness before it was cool.
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