EGO – THE ROADBLOCK ON THE JOURNEY TO SIGNIFICANCE
Half of the problems in the world are due to people who want to feel important. Lurking in the heart of every ego-centric leader, is the need to always be seen, heard and acknowledged. These attributes start very subtle and can later on define the whole personality of the leader. The root cause of this problem, is that leaders have an overestimation of their own importance and significance in comparison with others.
We will never be able to progress on our journey of life, if we do not deal with the roadblocks that create barricades and obstructions. Ego is one of those barricades that prevent us from accomplishing our purpose in life. When you are consumed by egotistic behavior, it might just be that you are hiding your own insecurities. The greatest freedom in life, is not to be under any pressure to perform or impress and not obligated to prove anything.
There is no greater satisfaction in life than to pursue significance as a servant.
‘’ Leaders with servant hearts don’t think less of themselves but just think of themselves less.” ( Ken Blanchard )
AM I HAVING AN EGO?
We all struggle at times with ego and it remains a conscious and deliberate effort to keep it in check. Ego can manifest itself in the following ways:
- Our endeavors are driven by external agendas and not inner conviction.
- Suffers from perpetual discontent and always wants bigger, better, and smarter than others.
- Sees people as a means to an end and use them as tools in pursuit of selfish ambitions.
- Is continually pre-occupied with self and every second word is about me, my and I; stays out of environments where it cannot be the center of attraction and its successes not being noticed.
- Plays political games and obsessed with power and status at any cost; manipulation is one of its key strategies.
- Feels easily offended when others receive due accolades and cannot rejoice in the successes of others.
- Accounts to nobody, confesses to nobody and finds it difficult to admit any mistake on its side.
- Totally undermines others so that it can appear smarter and better than others.
- More concerned with who is right than what is right; a burning desire to be right every time.
- Fiercely competitive and has a winning at all cost mentality; failure is fatal, and a scapegoat needs to be found outside itself.
- Relationally, first ask the question – what I can get out of it rather than what can I invest in it.
THERE IS A MORE SUPERIOR WAY
Life is often referred to as a rat race; whether you win the race, you remain a rat. Paul challenges us to a more superior way in Philippians 2 :3-4 (Message) “ Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet – talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.”
It is about seeing the hero in being a servant. Our heroes are most often the strong and valiant but Paul reminds us that there is much deeper satisfaction pursuing significance as a servant. When ego ends, dignity begins; when ego ends, life gets greater meaning.
In moving forward on this superior way:
- Always check your motives as to whether there is any inkling of self-promotion.
- It all starts with a thought, which translates into words and later actions. Filter your thoughts from any contaminants of ego.
- Listen without an ego ‘’ To be a superior listener, you must temporarily forsake ego. To reap the full relationship benefits of being a good listener, you’re going to forget about YOU.“ ( Kelly Shattuck )
- Remain focused on the task at hand. Do not get intoxicated by the applause of the audience or seeking out the undue admiration of others. Beware of shortcuts by manipulating people to boost your profile, it can be costly in the long run.
- Always ask the question – how can I serve as opposed to how to be served?
- Live a life of contentment. Is your glass half-full or is it half-empty?
- Appreciating and celebrating your true identity. You are unique in many ways; start to embrace it, excel in it and establish yourself as a brand in your area of expertise without being envious of what you don’t have.
- Determine in your heart that you would leave an enduring legacy; a life of significance that is meaningful, worthy and of substance.
Enjoy the journey!