Ego Commitment

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A recent article from TheMuse.com on the, “10 Unexpected Habits of Highly Successful People” caught my attention so I couldn’t help but dive into the list. And what do you know, the very first habit is in perfect alignment with my last post on “saying no”. Read below to find out more about what they call “ego commitment”.

#1 Habit of Highly Successful People: They Eliminate Every “Ego” Commitment

We all do things that have more to do with ego than results.

Maybe you serve on a committee because you like how it looks on your CV. Maybe you teach at a local college because you like the words “adjunct professor.” Or maybe, like me, you do radio interviews just because it seems cool to be on the radio, though it in no way benefits me professionally. (There are a few I would do no matter what just because I like the hosts.)

Anything you do solely for ego is a waste of time. Think about things you do mainly because they make you look important, smart, or cool. If it provides no other “value,” drop it.

Anything you do that serves the greater glory of you is a waste of time; besides, the best glory is reflected, not projected.

- Jeff Haden of Inc.

 

Saying ‘No’ When Enough Is Enough

 

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For the last few years, I’ve been living by Maya Angleou and Nikki Giovani’s advice to always start with ‘yes’. I’ve heard both of these legendary women encourage young dreamers to address opportunity with a yes and to then do your best to meet the expectation. They went on to say that if you find that you can’t fulfill the request, simply say “sorry”. Unfortunately, I’ve been saying a whole bunch of yeses and doing my best to avoid ever having to say sorry. The “just say yes” strategy has led me to some great opportunities but it has all come with a cost, namely sacrificing the time and energy that I once used for other things. This blog is something that has suffered the brunt of this practice.

I love my blog. It has been my baby for almost 2 years now and I can’t wait to see what it grows into in the future. Sucsass has been and will hopefully continue to be the foundation for so many other things that I will go on to do. But for my regular readers, you’ll notice a drastic decrease in my posts lately. I made the dreadful mistake of letting myself get too…busy *dun, dun, duuuuun*! We live in a busy society where everyone glorifies the grinder and workaholic. Sure, pushing yourself to take on new challenges is great but your motives should always be questioned: are you saying yes to opportunities that are aligned with your ultimate goals or are you simply saying yes to keep up with this hustler’s mentality? And I realized recently that I had begun taking on tasks out of sheer obligation. None of these tasks threw me off track but they also didn’t propel me in the direction of my dreams, they were just prolonging my journey.

I’ve since taken some time to redefine my core values (a set of activities that I’ve turned into a workshop that I’ll be offering to others) and eliminated anything on my to-do list that didn’t honor these standards. Slowing down has felt a bit strange but I just keep reminding myself of one important truth: saying no isn’t a question of my ability, it is a testament to my humanity.Our health and happiness deserve just as much attention as our goals do.

 

 

Pump Your Breaks, This Technique Will Set You Straight!

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A couple of weeks ago I purchased one of Myleik Teele’s “Learn More to Earn More” journals and was trying to find a strategy for how I’d use the notes portion. Coincidentally, I came across an article (I can’t remember where) about affirmation journaling. This particular definition encouraged the writer to recap their day as if they were living out their dream life. So instead of journaling about what actually happened that day, you would create a journal entry and describe the kind of day your future, successful self would have. I thought this was a great idea that I just had to try!

Recently, I’ve started to reconsider some of my previous career plans. I’ve been re-evaluating my definition of success, reviving some old goals, ditching some new ones, and trying to get back on a clear path. So without hesitation, I whipped out a piece of paper and started my entry for the day. I imagined that I was about 5 years down the road  and working as a consultant, providing trainings for other higher education professionals. I imagined that universities all over the country would contact me to host workshops for their staff. Sometimes I would fly out to the school, other times I’d host a teleconference. On this day in my affirmation journal, I was hosting a training via Skype. I let my imagination run wild, because hey- I’m creating my dream life, right? And in this dream world, I worked with universities in parts of the country that I had never visited. I began writing, “Today, I hosted a webinar for staff members at the University of Wisconsin on personal branding”

But all of a sudden I stopped.

Something about that statement immediately felt wrong. Maybe it was Wisconsin (I don’t know what made me choose that state) or was it more than that? Sure, national consulting sounds fun but once I started writing, I wasn’t so sure that it was a life meant for me. I didn’t feel connected with that statement. This made me wonder how many times I’d made that same mistake.

Sometimes a goal sounds fabulous and seems glamorous so we assume that it is something we should be striving for but we never take the time to imagine ourselves really living out that fantasy. Many times we visualize goals as if we were watching a movie and not as if we are personally involved in it. Try this: instead of just “seeing” yourself driving a new car, imagine it as if you were inside the car driving it. How does it smell, how does the steering wheel feel, what can you see out of the window, what music do you have playing? Feels different, right? That’s the same effect that this activity had on me. It was a very powerful moment because it helped me realize that as awesome as that goal was, it wasn’t actually what I wanted to experience. I’m pretty sure it was Ms. India Arie that said, “Now you know the truth but the way it feels” and indeed she was right. I was not being honest with myself about this goal. I even went as far as journaling all of my goals as if they’d happened that same day then I’d read it aloud and see how it felt. Did it feel like something I actually wanted to achieve or did it just sound good?

Now it’s your turn. Give affirmation journaling a shot and let me know if you discover any goals that you want to ditch or if you realize that there are some that you’re even more excited about after the activity. Happy journaling!