I say that a lot. Not the most tasteful expression, and maybe inappropriate given my personal touches with the disease.
Still I like the message. It reminds me that in terms of “significance to society,” what I do for a living ain’t too significant.
Yesterday a client sent me a high-five. Something I suggested for his diet worked.
“Good coaching,” he said.
My response? “Thanks. Even a broken clock is still right twice a day.”
You might think that’s bullshit false modesty but you’re missing the point. I don’t say it to appear “aww shucks Mr. Self-Deprecation” to clients or to anyone else.
I say it — and think that way — for me. To keep my ego in check.
I’ve been in this game a long time and have seen first-hand what happens when people who do what I do let themselves get drunk on ego juice.
They change. Slowly at first, but if left unchecked it picks up speed. It metastasizes.
They start taking more credit for client successes, forgetting that despite them saying “I couldn’t have done this without you” the straight fact is, NO, your client could have. They still did all the work.
They start to chase dollars a little too aggressively and make business or marketing decisions for the soul purpose of “more” — more eyeballs, more attention, more clicks, and obviously more money.
Don’t get we wrong, when this is your full time job you need to keep one eye squarely focused on your bottom line. If your business isn’t growing then it’s shrinking.
But your other eye — your stronger eye — should be focused on giving value and being of service to those who’ve already entrusted you. My opinion of course. You do you.
Worst of all, they let their values erode. Values are our principles or standards of behavior for what we consider to be important in life, such as how we conduct ourselves and how we treat others, especially those who are vulnerable.
But values are delicate. They need constant affirmation. They’re like your personal standards in how you feed and treat your body. It needs near daily care and attention otherwise they spiral downward.
Slowly at first, but if left unchecked it picks up speed. It metastasizes.
Its been a bad week for people who do what I do. The context of the alleged sexual assaults is everywhere, and industry colleagues are shocked and overwhelmingly supportive of the victims.
Though they’re also shaken by the alleged behavior of someone they’ve held in such great esteem.
Many asked “how could I have prevented this?” and received very good, actionable, advice. I know I’ve learned a lot. I hope others have too.
Though here’s what I would say: start with YOU.
Keep yourself from going down the very dark road that leads to becoming the type of person or behavior you say you admonish.
So stay humble. Don’t get high on your own supply.
If you have “fans” appreciate them but don’t let them lionize you.
Accept sincere compliments graciously but pay more attention to sincere criticism.
Own your mistakes and make an effort to change.
Have a network of real friends who relentlessly call you out on your shit.
Always be of service first.
But above all, live by your values. So if you don’t have crystal clear values that you review every few days then start there.
Keep in mind, “make 300k a year” or “write 1000 words a day” aren’t values. Compassion, honesty, leadership, and authenticity are. Steven Covey and James Clear have written extensively about this.
Try to be excellent but above all, be excellent to one another. I can’t think of anything more significant to society.
Except maybe curing cancer.
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