Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Checking the Ego at the Door

     For a few months, off and on, I've been working with an amazing friend trying to help him to achieve greater clarity about his career and to better articulate his personal mission.  There are a whole lot of reasons why this is important that I won't go into here, but it's been a fun and rewarding exercise, and I know it's been helpful to him.  
     That project has now expanded to include several others and I'm excited to see the result of the synergies that are being brought together.  Yesterday we were able to meet again and continue to make progress.  I'm always happy to make my home available as a good meeting place.
     When I was running my company, one of our most important operating principles (we called them our "Fundamentals") was to "check the ego at the door."  This means focusing on the best ideas and not being so concerned with image or being too concerned with pushing for your own idea.  In the context of this project, it's been awesome to see the way each person has been able to make contributions without any personal/ego investment. In other words, we're all interested in the same thing - coming up with the best work, and nothing else matters.  It's so refreshing to be able to work this way, and so much more productive as well.
     In many respects, I think this mirrors the focus of kindness.  In its "purest" form, kindness is really about a focus on others and how we can best serve them, rather than focusing on our own needs.  To be sure, there's nothing at all wrong, in my view, with gaining satisfaction or personal gratification as a result of doing something nice.  The difference is about purpose.  The purpose of kindness is to serve others.  Any corollary benefits are really just icing on the cake - and to be enjoyed, of course!

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