I was very selfish in the first 5 years of my partnership. It was truly all about me and how I could benefit from the company. I used my Ivy League status, my interpersonal skills, and my sales ability to bully my way through decisions in the company. I cared about my partners, but to the extent in which it helped me. I loved my bros, but I loved myself more.
I remember one of my partners reminding me constantly of my selfishness, but I didn’t see it. I thought I was the nicest guy ever…that’s what my mom told me!
Although our partnership is over now, I wonder if things would be different had I known the things I know today.
You see, what I’ve learned is that we are naturally selfish. We’re born selfish. It’s our instinct of survival to think of ourselves first. We all enter partnerships with a ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality.
If we’re honest with each other, we all suffer from this selfish condition (if you don’t anymore, kudos!). So how do we identify and remove this selfishness?
What I’ve learned now that I wish I knew before is that there are 8 keys to removing selfishness and we can find them in the bible in Philippians 2:1-8.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human ! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
The keys are this:
Agree with each other
love each other
be deep-spirited friends
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
This isn’t a call for you to lay down your visions, not lead, let yourself be abused, or not defend what you feel strongly about. The irony is that if you can follow the steps above, you’ll actually become even more powerful and influential in your partnership. You’ll be able to win your partners over to your vision much easier. They will know your heart and trust you more.
If all of us can be Christ in our partnerships, we’re truly living out the gospel in our businesses.