I’ve been spending a lot of time lately wrestling with ego. I talk a lot about fear but I’m just now putting together how much that directly translates into ego.
I have done a ton of writing. But most of it I’m convinced isn’t any good. Which means most of it will never be read by anyone else.
This is BS.
A HUGE blind spot on my part.
I’m writing my blog today without reading back through and doing extensive edits. Why? Because it’s more important to get ideas and information out there than for them to be perfectly formed. I’m going to try to do more of this.
Perfectionism breeds immobility.
Fear of imperfection, exposure, vulnerability feeds nothing but ego and does nobody good.
During my graduate work, I worked with two distinctly different types of co-authors:
Type 1: within a month of collecting the data, we’d push out the content, the raw analysis and our best interpretation of what it all meant and let the editors decide if It was good enough to publish.
Type 2: we’d spend months, and more often years, analyzing, interpreting, re-analyzing, collecting more data, writing and re-writing a manuscript 5 times to get it “right.” I still have a couple manuscripts with these authors that have never been sent out to editors.
Guess which type published more? Contributed more to the field? Began discussions and stimulated new research, and innovation? I’m not saying we always got it right, or that the analyses couldn’t have been done differently, but they don’t do anyone any good sitting on my computer.
I was recently asked by a Vistage Chair to return to Ohio to give my “Blind Spots” talk to a different group. I was honored at his recommendation to return but then taken aback when he politely suggested that I might consider changing a word in my handout. That word?
Accompanying his note was this link to an article explaining the incredibly racist history of the word. Unbelievable.
Embarrassed doesn’t even begin to express how I felt. Here I am, supposed to be an “expert” in helping others overcome blind spots, and become aware of their subconscious biases and I’m completely blindsided by my own.
(settle down ego….)
If I hadn’t been delivering that imperfect content, I’d never have had the opportunity for the conversation. I’d never have learned. And grown. And been better equipped and able to help others in their blind spots that they too inevitably feel embarrassed and vulnerable about.
You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be willing to begin the conversation.
Because egos are pretty exceptional at stopping us from hearing past our fear, and that my friends, is when the real growth happens.