Recently I had the opportunity to be featured on an entrepreneurial blog organized through Hygge, a Charlotte, NC based co-working space. While it was an honor to be featured and receive recognition for the progress we have made through Prime U, I asked myself the question "What's my motive?" after reading the article. Through several conversations with others I began to ask myself more questions.
"Am I doing this to prove something to others or to use the gifts I've been given?"
"Do I want recognition more than I want to help people?"
"Would I still be doing this even if I was never validated or approved?"
Regardless of what industry you are in, ego and pride can sneak up on you and flow into the work you're doing without you even realizing it. One way to frame this is to think about your intent vs. your impact. Here are three questions for consideration next time you achieve success or receive recognition for your work.
Was your intent pure?
How did others around you perceive your impact?
Did your actions align with your original ambitions?
Each of these questions requires intentional time spent in reflection and can sometimes be hard to answer. Honestly, there are some days where my intent is not always pure, I'll admit that I can be selfish. But It's not something to be overly discouraged about, it's human nature to focus first on self-preservation and self-promotion. But I've experienced a deeper level of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment when I focus on others, check my motives and make sure my actions align with the true impact I desire.
A great man once said, "Don't sacrifice what you really want, for what you want right now."
One thing I'm starting to do is to not necessarily listen to all advice, but rather watch and observe who is giving the advice. Actions speak louder than words. My intention is to be a living testimony to all that I speak on and write about. I hope others around me feel not only inspired but also empowered to create change in their own lives and the lives of others. Lastly, I need others to hold me accountable and confirm that my actions align with my ambitions, almost like an auditor.
All of these are easier said than done, but the first step is to take action. Spend five minutes today in reflection and find one trustworthy person to be your internal auditor.
I'm humbled everyday, as soon as I think I have it figured out, I realize I don't. But that's the journey, experiencing real change in your life begins with looking yourself in the mirror.