Letting go to level up
I was so angry… furious
No. More than that, I was embarrassed. I felt humiliated.
I was in a high level meeting of peers that I respected and admired.
In these kinds of situations it’s not often that I will raise a hand and put my voice into the room, it’s more my style to listen learn and only contribute when I really feel I have something that adds value.
But in this moment I did.
I really did feel I had something that would add value to the conversation and so I raised my hand. Now this was a fairly large meeting, we were online, and there had been a number of contributions already made.
But I wasn’t invited to share my contribution.
My virtual hand raised for all to see for at least a minute and no one asked me to contribute.
I was angry. No more than that I was embarrassed, humiliated in front of my peers.
I felt I’d been ignored on purpose, that it was a power play by the person running the meeting to keep my voice out of the room; that they had a personal agenda against me and they were playing it out in this meeting.
I was so triggered I had to come off camera and take a few deep breaths to calm down before I could rejoin and even then, my attention and emotions were still elsewhere. I didn’t even try to contribute for the rest of the meeting; I was hurt, sulky and sat in judgment of everyone and everything that was said.
Not helpful. For them, the work we were doing together or for me.
And this is what happened when ego gets in the way.
It prevents us from seeing what’s really going on. We personalise things, assume we are the target – the centre – of everyone’s attention and actions, and it prevents us from seeing what’s true and real.
The person running this meeting wasn’t trying to shut me down.
They had no personal agenda in not inviting me to contribute.
What they did have was multiple screens of people on Zoom and a lively discussion that they were trying to manage.
The reality is, we are not the centre of anyone’s universe other than our own.
To be our best we need to let go of what author Michael Singer calls the ‘ego mind’ that personalises everything, so that we can see and interact truly with the reality in front of us.
Because if I look back now, I can see that I no longer belonged in that meeting. My presence became about me and justifying my hurt and anger rather than the purpose of us coming together.
And this is what ego does.
It turns our underlying motive to be all about us – defending our position, justifying our actions, keeping us feeling safe. It turns friends into foe, creates separation and divide and contracts us in rather expanding us and our contribution out into the world.
So how do we avoid this?
By remembering we are not the centre of anyone’s universe other than our own.
Nobody is listening, nobody is interested, and nobody cares about what is going on for you. Because they are the centre of their universe – not you.
What a relief.
I do this by assuming that whatever is unfolding in front of me, it is not about me. I let go of any personal reaction – recognise the ego mind in play and stop it before it gains momentum.
And that allows me to focus on making the best contribution I can to the work in front of me.
And I reckon that could be what good looks like for all of us.