Monday, August 18, 2014

PARK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR-By Heidi McLaughlin

“Everything is wrong with this place. We don’t have all the tools we need, not enough billable work hours and even the air conditioning is not working.” Those words whizzed through the air like scud missiles! I knew they were intended to shock and intimidate me; but in that emotional moment I knew I was simply the target for the release of someone else’s frustration and unresolved anger. Years ago I learned that to be a woman of Godly influence, I had let go of my own insecurities and display integrity and grace in my workplace by learning to “park my ego at the door.”
 For thirty years I have been the only woman in the board room. For ten of those years I was the administrator of a large law firm, and prepared the agenda and chaired the monthly board room meetings. For the past twenty years I continue to be the Controller of two automobile franchises and again, I am the only woman in our weekly board room meetings. I have had to learn that when we allow selfish, pleasure seeking egos to dominate the agenda and conversations; an ugly tension permeates the room.  When our egos are threatened, we have a tendency to feel stupid, shamed, rejected and insignificant.”
 Nine years ago I put my fragile ego to the test. I am blessed to have two accountability partners that allowed me to engage them in an exercise that was intended to bring clarity into our biggest ego struggle; the idol of pride. We made an agreement that each time something or someone chipped away at our idol, we would record the words “ka-ching”. After an entire month of this humbling and revealing exercise, we met and shared the number of “ka-chings” we had recorded.   I was shocked and horrified to find that I had allowed my ego to sabotage my thoughts to propel feelings of being stupid, misunderstood, not heard or even rejected.  Somewhere on my spiritual journey I had forgotten that God makes us all unique and He has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. This little “ka-ching” exercise affirmed for me that everything in life is not about me, I am not the savior of this world and not responsible for everything that goes wrong.
 To be a woman of Godly influence in every area of my life, it has become my personal goal to value people over process. I am a task oriented person and no one knows better than I that there are goals, agendas and deadlines to be followed and adhered to. But if I allow my brittle, flimsy and selfish ego to rule my days, I will miss out on the joy of achieving success and accomplishments that I believe God wants me to enjoy. But I must always remember that my greatest goal in life is to pour God’s love and grace onto everyone I meet. That means taking a deep breath, parking my ego at the door, and remembering that we are all God’s creatures trying desperately to find our value and place in this world.  
 
Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her husband and special friends. You can reach her at: www.heartconnection.ca

5 comments:

Tracy Krauss said...

What a great exercise. I think I may try it. Thanks for this encouraging post.

Glynis said...

First of all, Heidi, I am loving that pink umbrella photo of you lovely ladies!
Secondly, thanks for sound, important advice. I have slowly been discovering over the years that life/work/play doesn't have to be a competition or a battle of the egos. Life is much more fun, when I respond in the way you suggest here - valuing people over process. Truly, that is what is more important anyway. Great post. Thanks for making me think again!

northernpoet said...

Thank you for that insightful post. "When our egos are threatened we have a tendency to feel stupid, shamed, rejected and insignificant. " So true. That's when all our defensive ugliness comes into play.
Great leaders can absorb other people's frustration with humility and respond in a Christlike manner. Thank you for this reminder.

Peter Black said...

Heidi, the previous commenters express very well my sentiments, too.
Thank you for clearly showing our human frailty regarding the fragility of our human egos.
'Ka-ching' - a memorable ego alert tool . . . Neat! ~~+~~

Ed Hird+ said...

Yes, Heidi, it is so easy to let our egos get in the way. It is so easy to put tasks above relationships. Thank you for this delightful reflection.

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