Have you ever thought that your pursuit of a goal might be making you inherently selfish?
Perhaps you’re a dedicated endurance athlete, or a motivated, focused manager looking to succeed in your work. Do you ever stop to consider how your commitment to your journey affects those around you? Or, to put it another way, do you allow your ego to run roughshod over those around you?
Striving to achieve something big often requires a level of single-mindedness. I recently watched a short film by Actualized.org. It challenged me to look at my own ego and question how selfish I might be in the achievement of my goals. For me, the more we openly give to those around us in a non-judgmental way, the more we will receive back in love and support. Those around us become our fan club and offer us encouragement, regardless of whether they have a stake or interest in the goal we are chasing.
This will be a post of two halves. I’ll start by talking to anyone who manages people in their work; then I’ll tackle how this relates to anyone engaging in sport,
Checking your ego at work
You like to achieve your goals – and you expect those around you to achieve the goals you set for them. Sound familiar? Think about this in a work context. Quite often as managers, we expect too much of team members, but let ourselves off the hook by thinking ‘well if they don’t like it, they can go and work somewhere else’.
Hiring and training up new staff can cost an organization around two times the salary. But have you considered how the partners, families and friends of your team members view you, your company, and your style of management? If you’re thinking ‘so what?’, try answering the following questions:
- How many of your team members could achieve so much more, but for some reason they are not fully engaged, and you can’t understand why?
- How many of your team members share news from their private lives with you?
- How many of your team members do you think like working for you?
Now ask yourself how the families and friends of these same team members might answer the same questions on behalf of their partners. Do you squirm a bit? With people and margins being squeezed at work, many of us will feel a bit uncomfortable here. It’s not all doom and gloom: there are some fantastically empathetic and supportive managers out there – and it’s no surprise that better engaged, motivated colleagues lead to a more productive, collaborative and profitable business.
Avoiding the pitfalls of ego in sport
I recently wrote how patient my wife is, but like many of you, I am conscious not to abuse this goodwill from my nearest and dearest towards my commitment to my ultra-running. Solo sports inevitably bring out a selfish element in all of us. Why else would we spend so many hours each week training, often on our own?
So what do our spouses, partners and kids really think about our dedication to sport? I hope that my kids look up to me; in my case their interest in my ultra-running efforts waned years ago when they realised that I generally finish in the latter half of the field!
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are your family and friends fully engaged with your goal?
- Reality check: are your family and friends sharing their life news with you, or have you become a bit self-obsessed and inward looking?
- Do your family and friends consider you fun to be around?
The same advice applies to sport as well as the workplace. If you think you can or should improve here, then make a plan with practical actions to reengage with those around you. You can’t deny that the attitudes of your family and colleagues play a significant role in your success.
If you’ve read some of my other blogs, you’ll be familiar with the idea of life being a sine curve, full of ups and downs. The sine curve illustrates your journey towards achieving your goal – whatever that might be. If you want to achieve your goal ‘well’, you should broaden it to take in how you can better engage with and support those around you.
Consider what practical steps you can make. Simply talking and stating that you want to do better could be a great place to start. Whatever you decide to do, as always, honesty is the best policy.
By being generous and giving in our relationships we have the opportunity to improve the lives of those around us and, in return, to receive so much support towards achieving our own goals. As Einstein wrote, “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not what he is capable of receiving”.
I’d love to know how you get on.
Leave me a comment, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter. Looking for proper support? I now offer coaching and mentoring – to help you achieve personal, professional or sporting goals. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.