“It’s not about you Ewan. It’s not about you! What right do you have to say people aren’t worthy of your help? That you aren’t worthy of theirs!? What right!? It’s blocking you. You’re not fully giving your gifts to the world.”

Her words echoed around my consciousness for weeks.

As any great friend would do, she’d let me have it. The loving sledgehammer applied with precision to a fragile pride. My heart felt the truth in her words immediately.

My ego felt rather grumpy about the whole thing.

“What the hell do you mean it’s not about me? I’m very special don’t you know!”

When I think of ego I think of a small child. One who has just discovered their will, and power. I want does get.

“Look at me mommy, I’m climbing really high, look at me, look at me!”

Yes, dear.

And we celebrate it don’t we? It’s new and fresh, and beautiful.

But it doesn’t stop with children.

“I just made $12,000 in a single phone call. It was so easy. This is the sign of progress, and really owning your power. All you need to do is just believe in yourself, just like I did, and you can have anything you want, whenever you want. Look, I’ve got 274 facebook likes on this already. Wow, it’s so simple!”

It may be dressed up in adult drag, but it’s the same voice at the core. “Look at me, look at me! I’m a big boy!”

At some point appropriateness kicks in.

Just like it’s generally not appropriate to shit in our pants past the age of 3, it’s probably not the best idea to wave a 3 year old ego about when you’re 33 or 63.

But hold on, let’s also put this in perspective.

Getting an Ego is a Groundbreaking Move

It’s a developmental stage.

In child development, the development of the ego is paradigm shift in perspective. Groundbreaking. Suddenly you can see your own identity as distinct from everything around you. You’re no longer fused. You are you.

“I’m TOM! And I like trains!”

You can possess things, want things, have things, take things.

The ego transformed culture too.

It enabled people to determine want they did and did not want. To realize they could take it or defend it. They had their own power. It’s what enabled humanity to move from small tribes, to big powerful clans.

It was a totally groundbreaking shift. And, it was also 10,000 years ago now.

We don’t consider it particularly cool or honorable to just take other people’s stuff anymore. What was once paradigm-busting, is now hopelessly insufficient for our ideals.

I Have an Ego Apparently

And then it happened.

I got hit over the head by a priestess.

“It’s not about you Ewan. It’s not about you!”

What? But surely it’s about me? I’m the one impacting people, blowing their minds, transforming their lives. I’m the one they’re paying a lot of money to, to coach them. What do you mean, it’s not about me!?

Of course, my heart actually knows already. I’ve known all along. Much to the annoyance of my partner.

“Stop being a moron Ewan, why do you always make it about you?”

She’s a priestess too, and relentless in her teaching of me. I hazard to think what would happen to my ego without her.

My ego thinks about what would happen without her a great deal.

“Freedom! No more complaints! As much lazy, bullshit self delusion as I can stomach!”

Today it sounds like hell. Sometimes, it still sounds like heaven.

Apparently I need to be reminded. A lot.

It’s not about me, or propping up some idea of who I need to be to feel worthy. It’s about answering the call, burning through the karma that is required, and serving those I’m sent to help.

I forget that sometimes. So, thanks to the women, and two in particular, for reminding me.

And What About You?

This is the part where I want to not make it about me, and make it about you instead. Because then I’ll be ‘serving you’. Or something like that.

But what I actually want to say is…

You’re amazing, and beautiful, and powerful. You are worthy, by the grace of being alive. You are as worthy as worthy gets.

It’s just that you have to open your heart wide to truly remember that. And there are a squillion reasons not to do that.

For me, they’re all some variation on “Fuck that! I’m not going to show the real me, no-one will love that!

My coach said to me: “what would happen next week Ewan, if you just didn’t make it about you?”

It felt like such a yummy question.

So, I’m posting this blog…that’s about me. Except it’s not really. It’s about each and every one of us, and how we’re all scared to truly show up in one way or another.

I know I’m outing myself, because my ego is begging me not to show it to you.

It’s saying, “you can’t post something that’s almost all about you”.

Ha, the irony.

So, here’s to not making it about me. Or you.

What would happen today if you didn’t make it about you?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ewan Townhead

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you're interested further in my work, you can find out more about me here, and my coaching here.

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  1. Ewan

    And if you’re brave enough, post it right here.

    What would happen today, if you didn’t make it about you?

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    no comment. it is as it is.

    Reply
    • Ewan

      It is. Including my desire to change things. (To paraphrase Ram Dass)

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    Wonderful. We just had a group facilitator call yesterday with all our TeamUp facilitators on ‘ego’ and how to deal with it effectively when facilitating transformation in others. So many parallels. One of the people (an executive coach) on the call said that she had a little note in her office saying: It’s not about you. This helped her tremendously. And sometimes we throw in our own personality, but in a conscious, non-attached way. Thanks Ewan for the important reminder.

    Reply
    • Ewan

      Nice. Steve Chandler has a practice he calls the ‘spotlight swivel’. Every time you’re getting lost in “am I good enough, am I doing it right” (making it about you), just swivel your focus of attention onto the other and helping them. I’ve found that really helpful.

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    Ewan – love your transparency and going for it. Pam

    Reply
    • Ewan

      Thanks Pam 🙂

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    Hey Ewan
    Your priestess might just have been projecting her issues onto you anyway.

    I am sure you are aware that you don’t actually blow anyone’s mind, they just give you consent to help them help themselves.

    Keep up the good work. Look forward to what you come up with next.

    Reply
    • Ewan

      Hi Michael. Whether she was projecting or not (which I would unequivocally say she was not), it served me deeply. I was getting caught up in my own sense of unworthiness, which was manifesting both as my own unworthiness to serve others, and other people’s unworthiness to ‘get my uniqueness’. The filter was unworthiness, and then everything was unworthy.

      I like what you say about ‘consent to help them help themselves’. Yes, exactly.

      Ewan

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    I like the idea that “it’s not about me” applies to both credit and blame. People don’t rise above simply because of me. And they don’t fall into the gutter simply because of me either.

    I also like the idea though that, although it is not only about ME, it is about US. In other words, something alchemical happens between me and those I come into contact with that is very specific. No one else thinks and creates exactly as I do and, in collaboration with other specific thinking, creative beings, we create particular things that are the result of the combined capacity of us both. If you mix a different group of people, you get slightly different (or significantly different) results.

    Reply
    • Ewan

      I like that too Antoine. The ego cuts both ways doesn’t it? Dark shadow. Golden shadow. Both are ‘making it about me’.

      Reply

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