The Surprising New Soul Sucker My Student Taught Me About

While observing my students on Wednesday working on their group lab projects, one turned to me and asked me a question.

“Lauri, what do you call the Ego Soul Sucker?”

After chatting a bit to learn more about what she meant, I realized she’d uncovered another type of Soul Sucker (that’s not even in my book.)

Introducing: The Ego Trippers.

Like other Soul Suckers, they compare us to other people. Many other Soul Suckers tell us that we’re inferior to others or “not enough” when compared. These Soul Suckers tell us we’re better than something. (So there’s still something that isn’t enough – the situation, other people, our impact) With these Soul Suckers its “all about us.” Size does matter. They crave things like big impact, higher status, a bigger house. Like other soul suckers, they hate change, vulnerability and transformation. They try to stop us from growing. Part of how these trippers keep us from transforming is by telling us that we’re already better than others. We’ve “been there, done that.”

Halfway through exploring this with her I laughed at the fact that I’d never uncovered them before. On one hand, I’m surprised. On the other it makes perfect sense because it was a blind spot for me for a while there. Once upon a time someone gave me this feedback: “You fail as a leader when you make yourself more important than the person right in front of you who needs your help.” I spent a couple of years craving huge impact. In an attempt to get me to see my own value, friends and coaches had said things to me like “when you’re on Oprah” and “you’ll turn to Deepak and ask his opinion.” I passed right by valuing myself and my work into an attachment to outcome. During that time I was addicted to size. There were probably many many people “right in front of me” who needed my help. Unfortunately I was so busy seeking “more” “bigger” and “thousands” I pushed them aside to pursue my cravings.

What broke me out of it? Of all things, my mother’s funeral. My mother was a housewife and stay at home mom. She was also a recovering alcoholic with nearly 50 years sobriety. During that 50 years, she sponsored many many other recovering alcoholics. During her funeral I was incredibly moved by her impact. One at a time, just by being herself, she’d touched the lives of so many people. She never craved more – she knew how to be deeply present and full of life in each moment. Often that is how she helped others.

So, after witnessing that, I let go of the super-sized visions of impact and started bringing myself back (like a meditation in motion) with questions like “how can I serve now?” “What would energize me now?” “What feels alive now?”

What feels alive for you now?

With passion & love,
Lauri

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