It’s not about you

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Many of us are too wrapped up in ourselves to notice what’s happening. We look at the world through ‘me-tinted’ glasses. How does this affect me? What’s in it for me? What about me?

The trouble with these glasses is they don’t see very far, and we misinterpret the actions of others as a result. For example, if resources are poured into one area, is that just so you can’t have them? If your co-worker got a raise, does that mean you didn’t deserve one? Was that decision really made because no-one cares about you?

Well here’s the news – it’s not about you. So get over yourself.

In our self-confident, individualized world we are often the center of gravity. We’ve been trained to believe in ourselves, to follow our passion, to look after number one. All of which is great – to a point. But in fact, the best way to look after number one, is to look after everyone else. To put yourself last, to be humble and to help others. If you make a habit of this, the return will be significantly greater than all the grabbing self-promotion you can personally do.

Instead, you’ll have ambassadors supporting and endorsing you, putting you forward for projects, validating your credentials and easing your path. Not to mention the huge social and emotional rewards you’ll get simply by helping others.

So next time you get the hump, stop for a moment. Could there possibly be another reason why this decision or action was taken which didn’t revolve around you? Is kicking up a fuss really going to help your cause? Are you exercising all your powers of empathy to put yourself in the shoes of your teammates? Will this matter in six months, heck even three? Could this be a chance to exhibit some maturity and demonstrate self-sacrifice? Perhaps leaving the obvious unsaid will help you more?

You are important. You should speak up. You do matter. But you are not alone. Decisions are complex. There are things you’re probably not aware of. And, sometimes we have to be humble, self-sacrificing, loyal and patient. And you can do that, right?