How to Check Your Ego in a Decision

by | Jun 14, 2017

Do you let your ego get in the way of achieving the greater goal?

It’s easy to spot me-centric behavior in the “other” person. After all, our intentions are more righteously motivated and purpose-driven, right?

But it is easier to slip into me-centric thinking and behavior than we think. It happens when we identify too closely with our position. Or when we put our interests ahead of the common good. Or make decisions in a way that promotes or preserves our position  instead of the purpose of the organization.  

We are never too far from that impulse, and many corporate and public institutions inadvertently (or maybe purposefully?) incentivize that kind of behavior.

But we have been given a calling to work for a higher purpose, and that calling should cause us to ruthlessly guard against our egos, which can influence our decisions and actions.

There is an amazing example of this in the life of John the Baptist (John 3:22-36).

John the Baptist had an important job: to get people ready for Jesus. Now, it wasn’t a glamorous job — he lived in the desert, ate and dressed in a strange way, and endured plenty of public ridicule. But it was an important job — he had great influence, gained recognition and a following.

Eventually, Jesus arrived on the scene and began his public ministry. At that point, John and Jesus were both at work. More and more people left John to follow Jesus, and John’s followers were upset about it, complaining that they were losing their influence.

John then responded in a way that showed a true understanding of his purpose. He knew his role was to prepare the way for Jesus and then get out of Jesus’ way. Instead of fighting for his “market,” John encouraged the people to follow Jesus rather than himself! Jesus must become greater; he must become less.

But how often are we like John’s disciples instead of John? We join the mission or start the role with the right intentions, but somewhere along the way we begin to make it about ourselves. We completely miss the point.

It is easy to get wrapped up in your calling and your success and forget that your purpose ultimately serves God’s purpose. John never forgot that. He understood that it was never really about him at all, but about God’s greater purpose and plan. 

So today, remember that as “important” as your job is, it ultimately serves God’s purpose. God put you in your current role, and you should work with excellence – with all your heart. He cares about it, and it matters. But it matters for His purpose, not our own. Ask yourself how you can live out God’s purpose for your work today, so “He becomes greater, you become less.”

When you do that, like John, you will experience incredible joy and purpose in your work.

Make your work matter,

Ben Kirksey

VP & General Manager, Workmatters

Photo of Ben Kirksey

Ben Kirksey

Ben Kirksey is the Chief Operating Officer for Workmatters. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (2006, Economics and Political Science), and alumnus of Teach for America. He realized a passion for integrating faith and work while at Northstar Partnering Group (now Field Agent™) and subsequently co-founded the Workmatters Institute in 2010.