observation comes from the Romanian sculptor Brancusi. It's a metaphor
about ego. About how easy it is to focus so exclusively on ourselves
that we prevent others from the opportunity to learn and grow from
our influence. It's a trap that many leaders easily walk into, a
trap from which there is virtually no escape. Well, there are three
escape routes, but you won't like them.
The mistake made in the past was believing that our power originated within
us. WE were the makers of our own success. We were kings and queens on the
chess board of life. I believe in our potential. But folks, it's not you and
it's not me. It's much, much bigger.
The ego won't recognize anything it can't take credit for. Consequently,
those who are overly egotistical don't recognize very much. They
can't see their way out of their own conceit. This is a problem
for those of us in the speaking business, for example. We are
on stage, honored with applause, occasionally a standing ovation.
It is extremely hard not to think that it's us - our irrepressible
style, rapier wit, unquestionable knowledge and sexual charisma. Some of us
actually believe our own promotional material. The self-adulation coming from
those who become "big trees" can get pretty tiring so here are the
three ways out of the ego-trap.
1) Misfortune In a hurricane, big trees are thrown around like toothpicks.
Conceited executives talk disdainfully to those beneath them - until they lose
their job as a result of restructuring. Then they became everyone's pal, hoping
someone will give them work.
2) Humiliation Sooner or later "big trees" go one step
too far and society chops them down. We've all seen the invincibility
of political and religious leaders shattered by a foolish comment
or action. This is a painful, self-inflicted way to come crashing
3) Approaching Death Coming face to face with our mortality somehow
lets us know just where we stand in the grand scheme of things.
There are no "big
trees" in heaven - God would find it irritating.
The greater the impact of our leadership, the more I hope we gratefully recognize
that it isn't us. We have been chosen to lead the world to a new place. How
honored and humbled that should leave us.
The following quotation must
be printed at the conclusion of each reprinted article:
"Copyright The Ian Percy Corporation."
Ian Percy is one of North America's most inspirational speakers.
Ian Percy is an international
speaker and consultant and can be reached at www.ianpercy.com