Ego and Good Deeds

It's Not About You

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Photo By Andre Mouton
Photo By Andre Mouton

I have frequently wondered what drives people to do some of the things they do, but honestly, I just don’t care, as long as they keep them coming. 

Especially in this day and age, it’s far better to put something out in the world that is a positive contribution than a negative that is confused with being straightforward or something that “shakes things up.” 

People ask me all the time why I was interested in pursuing solutions for preventing cancer. Truthfully, I was sick of seeing my loved ones suffer because of the disease. 

I wanted to spare my children and the next generation the pain and suffering, that cancer brings as a patient, family member, caregiver, and friend. The cataclysmic loss that accompanies cancer touches everyone. I, of course, thought it would be easier to garner support. In both my grief and naiveté, I assumed when I started the organization, people would lean in—they did, however, a decade later.

So while my story for Less Cancer initially was self-serving — serving those I love and my community — it has since expanded to be something much more significant. 

The work today with Less Cancer is not about me, my life, or anything to do with who I am or what I am about; I was and am focused on the future. Focused on the next generations who will never know or care who I am or what I have either accomplished or failed to do. 

And certainly not about the applause. 

For a decade, I spent my time looking at several audiences with deadpan faces. Often not a blink — much less acknowledgment. 

This is precisely why when we put ourselves out to serve the community, it cannot be about ourselves. 

When we make the mission about ourselves, it’s unsustainable, and it’s non-lasting. 

I am sensitive to leadership styles that make it about themselves first and the mission second. Issues or missions that are second to personality, while at times obnoxious, are almost always sure to be ineffective.

What I know is that a life without service or contribution is an incomplete journey — not just a shortcut, but instead a missed opportunity. Serve others for the opportunity and the journey. Participate, help, and care — do that for yourself. Just don’t make it about you. 

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