Last Wednesday, I had the great honor of being profiled on Huffington Post in a joint post between two series on Twitter Powerhouses and Meaningful Leaders. It’s absolutely amazing to me, since the article profiled some truly established leaders, including the Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. We were selected because of our “record of leading by example and laying the foundation for our collective greatness. Impressive in every way.”
As this piece of news sank in, an interesting series of reactions unfolded, challenging me to discern what came from my ego vs. my Higher Self. As I reflect on this experience, I decide to let it be a case to talk about recognizing who’s in the driver seat—ego or Higher Self.
You’d think that a piece of news like this would be a total ego boost, the kind that could give someone a big head. While that may be a common ego reaction, such was not my experience in this case. For a few moments after receiving the news, I was indeed very excited. But the elation was short-lived. Before long, all kinds of doubtful thoughts started flooding my mind and bringing me down. What does this really mean anyway? Who am I to be featured alongside all these “real” leaders and other “true” Twitter Powerhouses with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of followers? I felt like an imposter. My unworthiness wire was tripped. I was gripped by these limiting reactions until later when I was able to ground myself again.
I bet some of you are just about ready to reach through the computer screen and wring my neck for raining on my own parade! I also bet that some of you are nodding your head, because what my ego/inner critic said sounds like the kinds of things yours would say to you if you were in my shoes. I’m not proud of these reactions, but am choosing to share my less than glamorous ego experience here, so that we can have an open and honest dialogue about how easily ego takes over, especially in unusual moments.
Reflections From My Higher Self
When I did my New Year’s Eve visioning practice to prepare for 2013, the central message to me was to be a leader. Accordingly, I had set an intention for the year to embrace this call. Just the day prior to the Huffington Post news, I talked to my mastermind group about the need to get out more to share what I do. I simply can’t help those who don’t know I exist or how I can help them. Being profiled as a leader on Huffington Post is a reminder to step up and be the leader I was called to be.
Moreover, being publicly recognized for “leading by example” validates that what I’ve been doing authentically from my heart is hitting the mark. I *am* seen as the embodiment of the message I’ve been trying to share—one tweet at a time, one post at a time. When I started becoming active on Twitter in November 2011, I didn’t aspire to position myself as a leader. Rather, I was a complete novice chipping away at the Divine assignment I’ve accepted to be a voice of personal empowerment and a messenger of Love. Social media would simply provide a virtual platform for me to carry out my mission.
Upon getting over myself, I could hear my Self. When I was able to recognize that ego was in the driver seat, I could allow my Higher Self to take the steering wheel instead. Being recognized as an inspirational leader on social media isn’t an ego trip. Instead, it’s a validation that I’m on the right track and to keep going. More importantly, it’s a reminder to accept the responsibility as a leader to serve in a bigger way.
With my experience outlined above, let me close this article with a few summary points on recognizing when ego is in the driver seat. (For more on discerning between ego and intuitive wisdom, see “Who’s Talking?” Parts One and Two.)
- Ego keeps us small, and often shames us into hiding. Ego’s sole mission is to keep us safe and away from risking failure or rejection, which, unfortunately, often involves keeping us playing small. This isn’t to be confused with the discomfort we feel when being stretched to grow, as there’s a higher good to be served by allowing ourselves to be stretched out of our comfort. By contrast, when ego wants us to go into hiding for any reason, it doesn’t serve us or anyone.
- Ego is all about me. Ego is our “little me” vs. our Higher Self. This point isn’t to be confused with owning our power and serving with it, which is the domain of our Higher Self. When ego is driving—introducing thoughts like Who am I to…? or Who do I think I am?—no one benefits. When we step into our power and do good with it, it isn’t about us. Rather, it’s about getting over ourselves—our “little me”—in order to serve others and a greater good.
- Ego feeds on fear. If we feel like we need to (not) do something out of fear, ego is most likely in the driver seat. That is, if we (don’t) do something, we risk being abandoned, rejected, replaced—any measure of having safety taken away from us. Instead, when action comes from our Higher Self, it’s inspired by Love to serve a higher purpose. Again, even if it may stretch our comfort, we ultimately feel good about what’s to be done, not because we feel obliged or ingratiated to act, or fear we won’t remain popular or in demand.
Over to you: How do you discern who’s in the driver seat—ego or Higher Self? What do you do when you recognize that ego is in the driver seat? Would love for you to share in the comment box below for our collective learning.
Photo credit: Huffington Post and http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
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