Posts Tagged ‘ego

05
Nov
14

It’s not me; it’s you…or is it me???

Self Awareness 2Self-Awareness is a Paradox.  The more of it you have, the more you realize how little you actually possess. It’s like the guy who tried to be tactful by saying, “Somebody around here’s deodorant doesn’t work.” His friend turned to him and said, “It can’t be me; I don’t use any.”

We all love to imagine ourselves as incredibly self-aware, but when a story, a point, a sermon, or an illustration comes up we always assume that it’s our neighbor who desperately needs to hear it and not us. Our time is spent judging whether our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members are blissfully unaware of their deficiencies or just too self-absorbed to notice.

Despite 61 percent of Americans acknowledging that a gap does exist between the skills Americans have and those employers seek, 95 percent consider themselves to be either qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. With such a disparity, one has to ask themselves if they are ignorant or egotistical.

It’s in our nature to think of ourselves as much more than we are and to find fault in everyone else. To avoid this trap we must constantly ask, “What am I not aware of about myself?” In doing so we can cross the critical threshold from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent.

Self-aware individuals speak with candor, admit their mistakes, thirst for constructive criticism, and exude a quiet confidence. They can stay true to themselves because they know who they are. They can keep their ego in check because they are acutely aware of their ignorance.  Power is not a motivator for them. Individuals lacking self-awareness constantly place blame on others, fault-find like it’s going out of style, and possess a firmly entrenched victim mentality. Their base camp is the Isle of Denial and they intend to stay there.

There are two proven ways to increase your self-awareness. First, spend time learning from others. Seek their council and input. Consider everything they say and do and how you can apply it to your life. Second, read personal-development books. How can we develop if we don’t read the manuals?  Life’s too short to make all the mistakes there are to be made, so save yourself some time and heartache and read….and never stop. As Gandhi said, “Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.”

25
Mar
14

Your “A” Game is useless without your “Be” Atitudes

Ben CarsonOur “A” Game refers to what we bring to the table displayed in our outward performance. Our “Be” Atitudes are derived from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5 and convey a series of blessedness based on our inward characteristics. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “Knowing how let’s you drive it; knowing why drives you.” Our outward accomplishments are meaningless without the right inward intentions.

Last Friday I had the pleasure and honor of not only meeting, but dining alongside Dr. Ben Carson. We talked about everything from parents who made us read and write book reports growing up, to publishing, to speaking, to marketing, to mentors, to retirements and, yes, even to future callings. But what stood out most to me was how genuinely brilliant, yet humble, this man is.  He was not boastful, he displayed no hint of ego or hubris, and he exhibited extreme control, not only of the facts, but more importantly, of his emotions.

Dr. Carson is blessed because he is poor in spirit. He acknowledges his spiritual condition and the influence of God in his destiny. When I asked him about running for President, he replied, “If it’s God’s will.” He is aware of his God-given talents and places all of the decisions for their use in the hands of God.

Dr. Carson is blessed because he is meek.  Meekness is all about self-control and a quiet friendly composure which does not become embittered or angry under any circumstances.  It is an active attitude and a deliberate acceptance. “Angry people are selfish people” he said.  “It’s not about you; stay out of their slime pool.”

Dr. Carson is blessed because he is pure of heart. When I asked him about how he maintains his composure when untruths are levied against him, he shared how God dealt with his bad temper when he was a teen, healing him of a flaw which nearly put him on the road to prison.  He commented, “When God fixes a problem He doesn’t just do a paint job. He fixes it.”

When we look at leaders we tend to remember the visionary earth-movers, the fiery orators, the discerning decision-makers. But let us not forget the brilliant leaders who have changed the world through their inward spirit of humility and servitude: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, and the greatest role model of all, Jesus Christ. And in my book, I count Dr. Ben Carson as one of them.

 

12
Dec
13

All I Want for Christmas is Humility

C_S_-Lewis-Humility-is-not-thinking-less-of-yourself-but-thinking-of-yourself-less_I’ve been a huge advocate of acronyms since my time in the military. I came across one years ago that has been one of my favorites:  SLICC—self-licking ice cream cone; n. a process, department, institution, or other thing that offers few benefits and exists primarily to justify or perpetuate its own existence.

When I refer to someone as SLICC, it’s not a compliment although, true to form, that person or institution probably thinks that it is. SLICCs aren’t just found in the bureaucracy of the military, they exist everywhere! And the more downtrodden our sense of respect for hard work and humility, the more this trait takes root. The amount of self-aggrandizement throughout the media and everyday life is staggering. I feel like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers as I seek to find one truly authentic and humble soul.

When I was a little girl my older sister caught me looking at myself in the mirror and called me conceited. I was mortified and vowed to never spend an inordinate amount of time fixated upon myself. And perhaps this remembrance irritates me the most around Christmas time because self-absorption is the antithesis of the Lord’s arrival.

Christ was born in a manger, an actual feeding trough. He was gentle, he was approachable, he was worthy of all the entitlement and adoration in the universe, yet demanded none. Here’s how you can get your “Christ” on this holiday season and stop considering yourself God’s Christmas Gift to the Universe. That blessed event already took place in Bethlehem several millennia ago.

Stop Quoting Yourself: This includes taking pictures of yourself, otherwise known as selfies. These are a definite no-no in professional settings but equally weird in personal settings. If your LinkedIn profile pic is a selfie, take it down now. I find it strange when people put their own quotes on memes and then put their name on them and then put them on their Facebook page. I can understand if a third-party fan page does this, but for someone to do it on their own seems a bit braggadocious to me.

The Narcissus Syndrome: This egocentrism manifests itself in many forms, but beware of giving one of these birds a microphone unless you’ve got a hook handy and are prepared to use it. If it’s all about you, then just start a cult and hang out with your own special weirdos. Please don’t assume I’m one of them.  I was once at an event where someone was asked to give a two-minute presentation. When the time came, he delivered his assigned talk, and at then proceeded to speak for 15 minutes about his pet project—a topic that was not on the agenda. He finished and the meeting got back on track, but everyone in that room will remember his inappropriate display of self-importance.

My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, was a world-renowned author, speaker, and motivator. If anyone had reason to be a little big for their britches it was him. But his humility was a huge part of his attraction. He knew what Christ had done for him and it was woven through every word he spoke. One of my favorite lines of his is about men who would come up to him and proclaim, “I’m a self made man!” To which he’d retort, “Well, good for you! That relieves God of that responsibility!”

But perhaps the best illustration of humility comes in the form of this anecdote from his speech The Price of Leadership:

Remember the young minister writing his first sermon, spending his time in seminary preparing for that great day when he would stand before the congregation and lower the boom, telling them how to start living. He polished the sermon. He refined it. It was really getting better, week after week, month after month, and then the great day came. After two or three minutes, he realized he was in deep trouble. He began to feel around on the podium for a button he could push that would open the trap door and let him slip out of sight. But there wasn’t any push button. Within five minutes he realized he was whipped and that things were different in real life than they were in seminary. He said a hasty benediction and went down off the platform beaten, broken, and dejected. As he departed the podium, one of the old gray-headed warhorses slipped his arm over the young minister’s shoulder and whispered in his ear, “Son, if you’d have gone up like you came down, you could have come down like you went up.”

Here’s wishing everyone a gloriously blessed Christmas this year. May we all find our stockings and hearts so filled with humility that they overflow far into 2014!

08
Jul
13

Death of a Sale

Death of a SaleLike many business owners, I get approached by individuals trying to sell me their services or products. You’d think in this day and age that certain approaches would have died decades ago, and yet I still hear them, repeatedly.

To sell successfully, you first have to sell yourself. If you don’t have a pleasing approach or reputation, you aren’t going to be signing many clients. You want to be able to say you nailed it, not you killed it. In life, I may have to suffer fools gladly, but that doesn’t include foolish salespeople. Here are the top three ways to guarantee within the first thirty seconds that I will never do business with you.

  1. The “No One Knows You Exist” Approach. I find this used most often by groups selling SEO (search engine optimization) services. If I had a nickel for every time a salesperson called me or sent me an email stating that I was “unfindable” on the web I would be a rich woman. Telling someone that they are invisible will never persuade them they need your services, especially when coming from a complete stranger. Just who do you think you are? Leading with a negative will guarantee a quick end to the phone call or a one-way trip to my spam folder.
  2. The “You’re Nothing Without My Product” Approach. This person will compliment your product offerings then explain how it has a glaring hole because you do not carry their product. After all, you would be so much more successful if you did! I’m not sure how telling a business owner they are incomplete without you will get you any purchase orders either. I steer clear of people who think it’s all about them. This goes double for salespeople with this egotistical approach. There is no room for arrogance in sales.
  3. The “Your Reputation Precedes You” Approach. Before I engage in business with anyone, I check them out. You can find out anything about any person or business these days. I once had a now-defunct management consulting firm hand me a business card with a Better Business Bureau credential on it. When I looked them up online, they were under investigation and had a BBB rating of “F”. You can also find lawsuits, unpaid bills, and unfavorable reviews online. Sales people need to remember that their personal reputation and the reputation of their company precedes them. I don’t care about how much money you can make me; if I can’t trust you, I ain’t buyin’.

Always remember that sales is about getting people to like you, trust you, and feel that you are going to offer them value. So avoid these poisonous behaviors lest you kill any chance of a deal with the first words out of your mouth.

Death of a Sale

11
Oct
12

When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

There are times in everyone’s life when we cannot get to the end goal we desire despite how much effort, hope, or prayer we apply. One of the keys to a successful life, not only for you but for those underneath your influence or command, is to know when to step aside. This is a great reflection of true leadership but it is too often unrecognized.

Let’s face it. We all are endowed with specific gifts and abilities that no two have alike. That means that you will do certain things better than others and others will do certain things more effectively than you. This should not threaten a leader who is focused on the end goal. It’s the old cliché, “It’s amazing what you can get done when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

On the news, I recently heard someone in a position of great authority reply, in response to a question, “We are doing the best we can.” While we certainly encourage this type of language among children to encourage them to truly do their personal best and to develop self esteem, this verbiage has no place in a leader’s vocabulary.

When I attended the Air Force Academy in the mid-80s, first-year cadets were allowed only five basic responses when asked a question by an upperclassman. They were “Yes, sir/ma’am”; “No, sir/ma’am”; “No excuse, sir/ma’am”; “Sir/Ma’am, I do not know”; “Sir, Ma’am, I will find out”. That’s it! No more, no less. This first year of only answering with these responses stick with me to this day. It’s probably why, when someone answers me with an excuse, I feel a tremendous urge to tell them to drop and give me twenty! The service academies are first and foremost leadership academies. After all, you cannot defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic, if you are not a leader. And that is the primary job of a leader, to take care of those under their care.

Had I ever answered “I’m doing my best” as a cadet, I’m sure I would have been drummed out of the corps, and rightly so. Had I ever answered “I’m doing my best” to a Fortune 500 customer when they asked why their five-million-dollar piece of equipment wasn’t ready, I’m sure I would have been fired, and rightly so. If, when running a classified project, I replied “I’m doing my best” when asked why there were documented security violations, I’m sure I would have been escorted off base, and should have been.

If you have truly done your best and still cannot get the job done, do not let your ego sink all the good things you’ve accomplished. Realize it is time to move on to the next area requiring your particular set of talents and let the next team come in. That’s why we have succession plans and it’s why no one, no matter how smart or how powerful, is ever indispensible. Do not ever say, “I’m doing the best I can” because that is never an answer that serves any purpose other than making an excuse for yourself and alienating or infuriating the questioner.

09
Feb
12

are you adding value or feeding your ego?

In today’s world of “overnight” successes, it’s easy to search for a short cut to notoriety. The beauty of finding our passion in life is that we’re dialed into giving back that which is best suited to us. But when we continually turn the focus from giving to getting or even trading, we stray from our life’s course.

If you’ve truly got a burning message that needs to be conveyed, you’ll stop at nothing to get it out there. You’ll use every arrow in your quiver to shoot your message worldwide and you’ll stop at nothing. Love for what your message can do for others must be what drives you. If we are not diligent in working to spread our gospel, we can get discouraged or complacent.

In the publishing world, most authors and publishing houses are driven by the number of titles they sell. But what if I publish a book that only sells a handful of copies but impacts a life that changes the course of history? Is it a waste of money? And in the realm of speakers, trainers, and consultants, we often attach a monetary value to our ego in order to make a living. But what if I give a free speech to just five people that inspires one of them to new heights? Is it waste of my time?

We go through experiences in life not for ourselves, but to share. It’s not about us. It’s about adding value to the lives of others no matter what we get in return. Walt Disney said, “Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland with the idea of making money.” As a business owner, I’m sensitive to the bottom line but life is so much more than that. When you keep your eye focused on the mission and your heart focused on service, the rate of return is exponential because your ego can’t get in the way.

It’s tough to keep our egos in check and we have to spend a great deal of time examining our true motives for our actions.  The greats in history are great because have given their all in pursuit of sharing their message. Will you?




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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