Can You Park Your Ego?
We all have egos. Some are big, some are small. And then there are the loud ones!

They are there to bring us a sense of personal identity and help us navigate the world around us. They serve us well when strong enough to help carry us through challenges. When operating out of a negative emotional state they normally get very loud in an effort to protect us in our insecurities.

I always coach my clients to show up with a strong, but humble ego. Remember that it’s not all about you, but you still need to maintain yourself and show up in a manner strong enough so you can serve others and yourself. 

It’s good to have a strong ego. If it gets big or loud, it is time to start asking questions! 
My ego was tested this past week. One of my passions is choir singing. I get a ton of joy when, surrounded by my choir mates, we reach a place where the collective power of the music gets bigger than what each of us is capable of individually. That place where it feels you’re starting to soar like a bird on the wing. Oh, what a place of utter joy!

With the pandemic our choir had to become virtual. Overnight. Our joyous togetherness was replaced by isolated notes hit in front of cold computer screens. Technique and musical giftedness became most important, areas in which I do not excel at all. I can do well enough when surrounded by others as we sing together, but I’m not good to pinpoint notes in isolation. It’s just not how I was gifted. 

So I sent my contribution in. I struggled to sing the song in the voice required, and hit the notes that were required, but thought it would be acceptable. 

I kind of forgot about it.

Then this email landed. In a very friendly manner I was advised that, although highly appreciated, my effort was not making the grade. It would let the rest of the choir down. The email came from our interim choir director, a young Filipino-Canadian lady that I’ve noticed to be gifted with great leadership and musical abilities. Another millennial, a Chinese-Canadian young man, equally gifted; the new conductor of our symphony orchestra, was copied on the email. Both had stepped up—when COVID first hit—to take on quite challenging roles in our church music ministry. Both were quietly getting on with making things work. I had also quietly been admiring both of them and the way they had made their huge contribution.

I was encouraged to redo the project. It was done in a very respectful manner, but it was also quite clear that I would not be part of the project going forward if my contribution was not improved. There were quite specific pointers on how to improve. Everything was there to set me up for success.

First doubt set in. I felt like a failure. Was I even good enough? What was I thinking wasting everyone’s  time here? I can barely make it when following the singers around me, what was I doing trying to hit these individual notes in virtual space? 

Later Mr. Loud Ego kicked in. Why should I—a boomer old enough to be their father—have to listen to these two young whipper snappers? This all was due to COVID and not being able to hear the other singers! It wasn’t my fault!

I did not know what to do. I had a few days to respond and did not really want to miss the opportunity. I was stuck.

So I started to do some self-coaching. 

What was standing in my way? Why was I even listening to all these thoughts of self-doubt?

I realised it was my ego.

It was standing in my way. I was thinking just of me, of how I felt and what I wanted.
I had to look at the big picture. Why we were doing this in the first place.
It was time for me to park my ego and get on with the task at hand

So that’s what I did. I followed the new instructions to a t, did some practising, said my prayers and went for it. I hit the record button once again.

A day later I received the sweetest email from these two great young ones. This time he did the writing, applauding me for trying to improve and for helping them make the music ministry better. And yes, the revised product was acceptable and would be part of our next virtual piece. 

What utter joy! Not only to be able to sing, but also to be supported by such great young talent!

Is your ego strong? 
Is it serving you well? 
Does it get loud often? 
Are you able to park it when needed?

Hopefully my little example will give you clues how to better work with your ego. With my ego parked, I could see that I had everything I needed to be successful. 

I just needed to get over myself.
Best wishes,
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