Jul 9 2008

Leave your ego at the door

My wife took me to kick-boxing class yesterday and if I was to be honest with you, I’d have to admit that I pretty much got my ass handed to me.  Kickboxing is HARD. This isn’t athletic club kick-boxing.  This is Muay Thai kick-boxing at the local Thai dojo.  My wife’s been going for months and is really good (and before you ask – yes, she can clearly kick my ass any time she feels like it).  She’s been asking me to go for a while but I’ve resisted. Not because I didn’t think it would be fun (and as it turned out it was even more fun than I thought it would be), but because I didn’t know how to do it and I was seriously afraid of embarrassing myself (although as you can imagine, none of the excuses I used to avoid prior participation included this openness of reasoning).  Finally, having run out of good reasons not to go along, I acquiesced.  And it was great.  I had fun. I sweat (a LOT). I beat the crap out of my punching bag. I learned the proper way to kick and punch.  And occasionally I put it all together and actually looked like I knew what I was doing.

This post isn’t really about kick-boxing, however.  It’s about trying.  It’s about putting yourself in situations that are uncomfortable or foreign and giving it your best shot.  I made a ton of mistakes in class yesterday.  And, as it turns out, didn’t feel stupid at all.  To the contrary, I felt great for having made the attempt. At the end of class we warmed down with a few minutes of meditation and breathing exercises.  During this quiet time the instructor read a passage that started with the line "here we leave our egos at the door" and went on to talk about the virtues of challenging ourselves to our own level of ability and experience. 

I think it’s often true in business that we are reluctant to try new things. To leave our comfort zones and branch out to new area. And – perhaps most importantly – ask for help. In business (and in life), its extremely hard to leave truly leave your ego at the door. But think about how much more we’d get done if we did…