Lately my clients have been experiencing “crises” of the ego. That part of you that wants to be recognized. That part of you that feels wronged when you get less recognition for that project on which you did equal work as your coworker(s). People often banish the ego to the “shadow self” or dark side of the personality, ignoring it or otherwise sweeping it under the rug; similar to people’s reaction to fear. Also like fear, our ego can inform us.
Maybe we do need to stand up and ask for recognition for something. But more often than not, the ego feels like a child who is crying for attention more than someone standing up for justice. How do you wrangle the ego? You quiet it with contribution.
Contribution has been identified as one of the six basic human needs by Tony Robbins (a contemporary take on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). Robbin’s theory is that we are constantly trying to meet six basic human needs at the same time rather than working on one level at a time before moving up the hierarchy. This concept is more relatable to a wider-range of people, including Highly Sensitive People (HSP) (who approach Maslow’s hierarchy by meeting Self-Actualization first and work their way down).
When you feel down or depressed, one of the easiest ways to pull yourself out of it is to contribute to someone/thing else. Contributing is part of what makes programs like Alcoholics Anonymous successful; sharing and contributing your story and struggle for other people to hear so that they can learn, heal, and grow too. Contributing doesn’t just help others, it helps us too; volunteering has been shown to decrease feelings of depression (plus there’s an entire episode of Friends about “no selfless good deed”).
Aside from volunteering, there are many ways to contribute. If you feel your ego puffing up, rather than thinking about how you can get noticed, think about how you can get someone else noticed. Think about how you can help someone else find their power. When you get others noticed and help them find their power, it’s impossible for others to not also notice you.
As I have been helping my clients shift into contribution mode, I have been doing the same. Contributing information for the benefit of others has been the driving force for me to be a coach, write a blog, and give a TEDx talk. Inspired by Danielle LaPorte and others like her who offer a Pay What You Can day (or week in DLP’s case) for their products, I wanted to offer something similar for my coaching services. My prices have been adjusted across the board to be more accessible, and I invite you to use the contact form on my site to let me know if those prices are still not affordable for you. I know the value of having someone on your side when it feels like things are not going to plan (or anywhere near it), and I want to help.