Life can change us. With new experiences, tough hiccups, interesting relationships, riding the waves of our lives typically brings us to a new place, a more refined, understanding, self-approved place. We learn to care less about what people think, and as time passes and life happens, our identity feels stickier and stickier. Because we remember what it was like to be at a different place in our life at one point in time, I think our ability to empathize widens.
But then there’s those people who seem to have lost all ability to relate as life has taken them to new, more successful places. You hear it in rumor mills about people who have “made it”. And while I don’t prescribe to diving into the negative, I think it brings up a valid opportunity to examine the ego.
I’m sure you’ll all agree that in order to get where we want to in life, having an ego is necessary. Maintaining an unrelenting belief in yourself is absolutely necessary for success. Valuing your time to such a degree you know when to “say no” is crucial. Giving feedback to people that they won’t necessary like is inescapable. Fundamentally pissing someone off will likely happen.
As I began recognizing this issue, and thinking about my life as I envision it one day, I realized that I will continue to experience all of this…the not being able to please people. The having to have an ego sometimes. And it worried me– because how do you keep a healthy ego in order to be successful, but not let it run the show. Not let it be who you become. I realized quite quickly that just like anything else in life, sometimes we have to keep certain extremes into check by remembering the little things. And the best way to do that is by having a list of non-negotiables. Things that no matter where life takes us, will remain the same. So I decided to write mine down…
To the best of my ability, I will always…
Smile and say hi to strangers
Remember what it’s like to be broke in a new city
Treat people I work with as equals, from the cleaning lady to the Chairman.
Handwrite cards to people near and dear to me
Ask more questions in a conversation than give answers
Use my platform for good (even when pulling a Taylor Swift is ever so tempting haha)
Strike up conversations with the sound guy as often as I would the CEO
Remember that my first class ticket is not a reflection of my value
Respond to emails even if there’s nothing to gain
Reach out to share congratulations or sympathy even if we haven’t talked in ages.
Smile at babies
Decorate for the holidays and blast Christmas carols
Stop and take a picture for the tourists who can’t get their whole family in the shot
Have more understanding than annoyance for the parents and their 3 screaming kids
Be able to shop at Walmart as easily as I would Neimans
Refrain from using busy as a valid justification, an excuse or a reason
Dance in the kitchen
Eat dinner with my family at the table whenever possible
Get excited about the little things
What would your non-negotiables be??
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