Chapter 7 in Ben Horowitz's book "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" is titled How to Lead Even When You Don't Know Where You Are Going, and it's my favorite.
To set the table he writes, "In your darkest moments as CEO, discussing fundamental questions about the viability of your company with your employees can have obvious negative consequences. On the other hand, talking to your board and outside advisers can be fruitless. The knowledge gap between you and them is so vast that you cannot actually bring them fully up to speed in a manner that's useful in making the decision. You are all alone."
Later on he writes, "The problem with psychology is that everybody's is different. With that as a caveat, over the years I developed a few techniques for dealing with myself. I hope you find them useful, too.
Make some friends. Although it's nearly impossible to get high-quality advice on the tough decisions that you make, it is extremely useful from a psychological perspective to talk to people who have been through similarly challenging decisions.
Get it out of your head and onto paper. When I had to explain to my board that, since we were a public company, I thought that it would be best if we sold all of our customers and all of our revenue and changed business, it was messing with my mind. In order to finalize that decision, I wrote down a detailed explanation of my logic. The process of writing that document separated me from my own psychology and enabled me to make the decision swiftly.
Focus on the road, not the wall. When someone learns to drive a race car, one of the first lessons taught is that when you are going around a curve at 200mph, do not focus on the wall; focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will drive right into it. If you focus on the road, you will follow the road. Running a company is like that. There are always a thousand things that can go wrong and sink the ship. If you focus too much on them, you will drive yourself nuts and likely crash your company. Focus on where you are going rather than on what you hope to avoid.
DON'T PUNK OUT AND DON'T QUIT
As CEO, there will be many times when you feel like quitting. I have seen CEOs try to cope with the stress by drinking heavily, checking out, and even quitting. In each case, the CEO has a marvelous rationalization about why it was okay for him to punk out or quit, but none of them will ever be great CEOs.
Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what my friend the great Alfred Chaung (legendary cofounder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls "the torture." Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, "I didn't quit."