Looking after yourself or egocentrism? by Sophie Audubert-Todorovic
Today, at the different levels of an organization, in global business environment, the values of cooperation, collaboration, sharing, listening and empathy are spread, as if it was essential to put forward the right way “to care about others”, particularly in a management position. To create a quality of work life, people insist on caring skills. And it is for sure legitimate, as it has been widely proved by various schools of thoughts, from sociology to neurosciences. Behind these messages lies the idea that they should forget personal ambition, challenge their “comfort zone”, minor their individual power, set aside their own career plan, or change their understanding of a situation, putting themselves in other people’s shoes. In short, letting down egocentrism, that could be defined as a “tendency to consider one’s own point of view and self-interest”.
As a coach, I often hear “If I listened to myself, I would really like to…but I must think about my team”, or “the most important is my team, I come after…” or again “I do my utmost for my team to be happy…”.The price to pay for caring about others is often quite dear for the person (permanent availability, work overload, emotional stress, exhaustion…).
However, to be able to create added value for ones’ team, one first way should be daring to reverse two words: move from ego-centrism (I put myself in the center of the circle) to self-centration (I create a circle including myself).
To be in the capacity to give to others, once must be connected to oneself. Starting by taking care of our “machine”, this body that we mistreat or neglect more than we think; we do not learn enough to perceive its signs, our great “KPI’s” of your misbehaviors (and often weak at start). Perceiving one’s breath as the habit of clenching one’s jaw, taking some time for a sport activity, feeding it correctly, offering it some deserved breaks….And also, taking care of one’s thoughts, desires, letting place to intuition: it does not lead to egoism, but contributes to our humanity, allowing us to be conscious of our own needs, looking for our balance with sincerity. Of course, it does not mean, while listening to us, that we should take risks to endanger ourselves. It’s about building, in a slow and persistent way, our path to ourselves, which, you’ll be surprised, creates more caring space to others and to the surrounding world.
In the French play “The Bourgeois Gentilhomme” (Molière), Mr. Jourdain learns the importance of words power in a funny manner, declaring his love in various ways, only changing word sequences. So, whenever someone reproaches you to “pay too much attention to you”, while your intuition whistles that it would be a very good idea, stand up and say “Yes I put much attention on myself, and it pays!”