Here’s a truth that your ego will try to hide from you at all costs — if something happens to another person, it can happen to you.
On the bright side, that means there’s nothing that you can’t do. If you want to run a 4 minute mile, it’s possible. People have done it before. Hard work and consistency are the only things that stand between you and a 4 minute mile.
If you want to be the sole owner of a multinational corporation, you definitely can. Many people have done it before you. The playbook and the possibilities are out there.
On the other hand, everything can go wrong at a moment’s notice. You can be overworked and under-appreciated. There is a possibility that you could, at some point, live in a country that puts laws in place in an effort to strip you of basic human rights.
It happens all the time. And if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.
It’s a very uncomfortable thing to think about, right? The idea that at some point your livelihood or talents or basic existence will be called into question, or worse, taken from you and you won’t be able to stop it from happening. We don’t want to consider those possibilities.
Those problems happen to someone else. This company is doing things differently, so we won’t fall into that trap. We’re made up of good people, they won’t come after us.
But they can, and at some point, they will. Because none of us are above adversity or inconsiderate behavior. As long as society thrives on Otherness, we are all susceptible to becoming that Other.
What does that mean for you in terms of your professional career? It means never be complacent. Never assume that you’ve made yourself invaluable or they will never find another person just like you. From the top to the bottom, everyone in every company around the world is replaceable. You’ve got to know that and understand that as soon as you can.
Once you do, you’re given something rare and valuable. You get to focus solely on your work. When you know you’re not guarantee your spot, you start earning it every day. Your work gets better, you stop worrying about trivial office politics and you stay focused.
You achieve the ultimate goal: to out practice and out produce your competition.
And then you don’t need an ego — everything you’ve done speaks for itself.