The moment you think you begin to think you are “too good” for some honest work, is the moment you might need a reality check. This kind of feeling that you are superior to someone or somethings is maybe a sign of inferiority you have internally. Being above everything doesn’t lead to any good. It causes others to dislike you and view you as stuck-up. A lot of the people you respect the most are the ones who grinded their way to the top doing all sorts of humbling tasks to get there.
The habits and skills you already have and use is what gets you to the top of organizations. So, look to develop habits or traits that leaders you admire have in order to improve yourself. Bill Belichick became a legendary football coach by embracing the grunt work. He worked his tail off in the film room starting at $25 a week studying the others team’s formations and weaknesses that others thought they were “too good” for. The result of his hard work? Seven super bowls as a coach. What he has accomplished is absolutely stunning and it is all rooted in not being above the grunt work.
Without a willingness to do dirty work, a lack of modesty arises and it can hurt your life in many areas like work and relationships. When an executive scoffs at doing a task below his supposed paygrade, his peers take note. Others will not respect someone who thinks he’s too good for particular tasks. Doing the small things count in relationships too. When you yourself come and pick up your significant other at the airport instead of ordering them an Uber or cab, you are appreciated. Your actions of pulling the chair out, carrying the heavier load, and opening the door for your partner will not go unnoticed. As Al McGuire said, when you treat the parking lot attendant guy as the same as you’re superior, you’ll know you have mastered not being above others.
I came to the realization during a party that not being willing to perform a common courtesy is a red flag. A person I just met had his shoes untied so I went to tie them. He said “I don’t want you to do that, you’re too good for that.” I responded with “it’s no hassle”, but I realized that if I were ever “too good” for a common courtesy, than I would need a reality check. None of us are too good to do something nice. When we think we are, it is a telling sign that we are conceited. Tying someone else’s shoe provided me a good life lesson; none of us will ever be too great to be kind to others.
You will have to surround yourself with people who will keep you honest and hold you accountable to never become above some things. People that have known you long enough or direct enough to be straightforward with you. These people will help bring equilibrium to your life. When you get too far one way or another, they help bring you back to your regular good state. They will tell you to get your act together when you are acting out of line. Having this honest feedback is so essential to growing as a person and to perfecting your character that it can’t be understated. We must buy into the premise that regardless of title or status that we ought to be good men and women.
“A great man is always willing to be little.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
To become great, we must not think of our self-superior to everyone else. We must realize that the greatest and most respected leaders are the ones who fight in the trenches with their men.
Where in your life do you feel you are too good for something? Too good to help your waiter out? Too busy to say thank you to your checkout person? Too good to do the dishes or Laundry? Or some other form of busy work?
Identify things you perceive yourself too high for. If you have teammates, they will be impressed if you carry the gear to the practice field. If you are above anyone in work, they will respect you massively if you go out of your way to help them and ask if they need you for anything. If you are a parent, you show the way of how your children to carry themselves when you yourself take out the trash and wash the dishes with them.