I recently had the opportunity to have lunch with a mentor who is now retired. After reminiscing about a situation that caused him some grief and embarrassment, he said …
“My ego is not my amigo.”
I enjoy the opportunities to meet with mentors because they possess a wealth of knowledge, and they are eager to share it. From these get-togethers, I’ve learned it’s best to ask questions and take mental notes.
These mentor meetings are not the time for me to share any advice, and I should stay away from making excuses.
I’m ashamed to admit to you that my ego has caused me many problems over the years. In fact, I’ve let my cockiness and arrogance get the best of me for decades.
As my mentor eloquently noted, my ego is not my amigo. In fact, my ego is serving the role of an enemy.
Here are some examples:
- In my 20s, a friend offered to share some advice about helping me resolve a business relationship. As she began to discuss her ideas with me, I interrupted and mentioned that I knew the best way to handle this situation. This was my ego taking control. The fact is that I had little experience with the conflict I faced, and my approach was doomed to fail. As it turns out, I decided to avoid the situation, which caused it to worsen.
- There was the time when my wife and I disagreed on a particular tour we would take while visiting London. She selected the city tour, and I wanted to do an excursion outside the capital. We were visiting London for several days, so I could have easily acquiesced and gone with the city tour … but, no way, not me! My crazy ego was telling me I needed to hold my ground, and my wife should be the first to budge. In the end, we selected the excursion because my wife took the role of the adult, and I was relegated to the immature and spoiled child.
I wish I only had two situations to share with you, but there are countless more scenarios over my lifetime where I displayed similar behavior.
Turning the Corner
There is no reason I should have a big ego. I was raised in a migrant family, and we barely had enough to make it. My grandmother reinforced the importance of humility. We needed to be comfortable with who we were. There was no need to boast.
During the past few years, I’ve become a regular churchgoer, and I am seeing the benefits. There are many times today when I think about helping others before considering about what is important to me.
Let’s take this blog as an example … I could use the opportunity here to write about my accomplishments, but that’s of little value to anyone else.
Instead, I look forward to being honest and transparent with you. There are times when I put something on paper, and it’s embarrassing to see it. I even think about leaving it out.
However, that’s the old me. Today, I want humility, love, and kindness to be my amigo. I’m no longer interested in the stuff that is far from real.