As I type this blog entry, my mind is elsewhere. It’s on a man for whom I just wrote a farewell speech. He is whip-smart, classy and—my favorite trait of all—humble. Despite the fact that he has funneled millions of dollars into all the right hands to help change the world for the better, you’d never know it.
I love that.
I love people who are a Big Deal but who don’t think of themselves as such. I will be so sorry to end my working relationship with this man. It’s truly been a privilege to help him get his thoughts and ideas into the world in innovative, articulate ways.
Contrast this train of thought with something that happened earlier in my week. A former friend—one I was trying to help because her business is in dire trouble—came at me as if she was a Big Deal. Nasty, defensive, let-me-show-you-how-smart-I-am. Let’s be clear. She is not. She is a bit player—and a struggling one. When our paths crossed, I was at a time in my life when my own troubles (divorce, death of my parents, etc.) probably blinded me. Since then, so many red flags. So many people who have told me to avoid her. My own fault, really, that I gave her the benefit of the doubt despite the warning signs.
Because these are the types—filled with ego for lack of anything of substance—that tend to want the world to think they are a Big Deal. And in their wake, collateral damage is a sure thing. I’ve worked with more true Big Deals than you can shake a stick at–it’s just the nature of the business I’m in. And I can tell you, the real deals don’t cause collateral damage–they usually leave things better than they found them.
I had tired of the situation with this friend months ago, as I realized every social gathering at which I bumped into her, she was boozing beyond her limit. When she would introduce me to people, it was always prefaced with what they owned/made/worked at. You see, she rates the world on all of the above—status symbols. She was loud. Brassy. Not my style. I learned from being given some lucky opportunities young, CEOs and janitors have more in common than you think. Their basic humanity. She seemed to have lost hers.
Let’s contrast how each of these relationships ended. I got an angry text from her, near midnight, that ended with, “And this is the end of our communication.” I had to laugh. Oh honey. Are you still thinking about our rift? Because I was soundly sleeping. Our communication actually ended months ago—had you not noticed? You and I have been in different stratospheres. I don’t wish toxic people ill—but I also don’t wish to be around them. You’ve been swimming in your own swamp for a long time and I left you in it eons ago. You were just too self-absorbed to see it.
My relationship with the true Big Deal? Well, that is ending in, predictably, a far classier fashion. “Kristine, my apologies for my delayed reply on the phenomenal speech you’ve given me. You captured every sentiment I wanted to express, all the milestones, and you did it in your usual inimitable fashion. It’s me, but better. As I wander into the sunset, I am reassured that you are doing what you do. The world is the better for it. Someday, the powers that be will recognize your talents on a much larger scale. And I’ll be front row in the audience, humbly applauding. And by the way, more importantly, you restore my faith in the human race. Your honesty, wit, laughter and yes—even your challenges to my thinking—are things I am eternally grateful for. I’m the better for all of them.”
Bottom line—we can do great things and lift each other up. Or, we can view the world as a battlefield—one in which we cannot let anyone see who we really are—because inside, we feel so very small.
I am proud to be in the first camp. Proud to not fluff up my feathers and brag about what I do. I just do my thing. Sometimes, I score. Sometimes, I fall short of the mark. Overall, I think I accomplish more good than bad.
None of us are really a Big Deal. Even when we are. But you can be damn sure I now run, as fast as I can, from those who want me to think of themselves as such.
You see, I’ve seen the real thing. And it comes with humility emblazoned on its chest.
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Another terrific post, Kristine. It never ceases to amaze how those who think they’re the smartest people in the room are never even close. And yet, they convince themselves otherwise while throwing shade at others. Glad you called them out!
Thank you, George. I’m not a fan of conflict. (Who is, right?) but I have also learned to calmly assert myself with those who would bully or bluster:). I have no room for those people anymore in my life.
Love this Kristine. Wannabee Bid Deals are generally unhappy and never satisfied I think. Not a good type to be around. Fortunately I’m not in a position to have to deal with them – I can choose to knock around with pleasant folk, or no one at all.
I’m trying very hard to minimize my contact with them. The older I get, the easier that should get!
Unfortunately, people like her won’t ever get it. The booze sure doesn’t help. You are so much deeper, see so much more. And I have no doubt that Big Deals like that man you just bid farewell (wonder why I wanna call him Big Mac) regret losing you too.
Thank you. Why is it so easy to perceive others’ lessons but not our own?!:)
Thank you:). Every once in a while, I get it right . . ..
Well said Kristine, I’ve never seen the attraction of wanting to be a Big Deal.
Me neither! But that does not surprise me. I think we have both gotten to the point where any major battles with our egos have been fought. I know very clearly who I am and I can tell you do also.
I, too, have known both type, and your words caught each — the humble and the haughty without reason — perfectly. I don’t know your politics, Kay, but I need to say as I read your words, “Because these are the types—filled with ego for lack of anything of substance—that tend to want the world to think they are a Big Deal,” I thought of our president and his need to impress and be better than.
I’ve never been a Trump fan. He’s complete ego with no substance. And the fact that he has not more strongly condemned what is happening in Charlottesville is paining me. That’s not being a world leader. But why would we expect him to start now? Ugh.
Hmm sounds exhausting. Maybe just because it is 3 am though.
I think exhausting to be that person who always needs the facade of money, status–whatever it is. Whether it’s 3 pm or 3 am:).
Very true. Strange and sad to not engage in the little introspection that points out the futility of that sort of anti-social self focus.
“CEOs and janitors have more in common than you think.” ❤ and "we can do great things and lift each other up." 🙂 Often the quiet one in the group/crowd is the gem… and YOU!! ❤
Thank you for really chewing on this one:). Funny what comes to us HSPs:).
Thank you! No big deal:). Pun entirely intended.
I just love reading about people who understand the value of letting others know they are appreciated. And the other, well — doesn’t it sometimes feel as if people like the Big Deal wannabe are on another planet? And what a sad, miserable, disheartening place it is. Maybe she’ll have a eureka moment at some point. That’s about all we can do — hope for the best for her.
I sometimes think that despite the fact we live on the same earth, some of us live in Heaven and others in hell. And that environment is created by our choices. I think just being some people is punishment enough for them . . . they seem to live in misery and drama.
Humility and Grace are always within the Wise and the more I go on the more I realize, life is a series of ongoing lessons, the more we learn, the less we know ha!
Those are powerful combo, one that I am drawn to. The older I get, the easier it is to see through artifice and ego. And the less patience I have for them.
It’s only because she didn’t have confidence in herself Kay, believe in herself, that she feels she has to throw herself out there to be noticed.
Where your retiring friend is already there 😀
The ego is in fact a great trainer…a clumsy one at times…but one that needs to ‘see’ both sides of the coin to gain that wisdom. But as you said, to stay in that situation was draining to say the least, and you did what she needed…left her to discover that she wasn’t in a good space. That is love. Maybe not on the surface, but within most definitely ❤
Well put, Mark. And much more simply than I put it! I did leave her to her own discoveries–not sure she is self aware enough yet to make them. But, I can really only take care of me, right? Something life has taught me:).
You in fact expressed it very beautifully. Both sides of the coin needed to be seen to be understood, and you showed that on both counts Kay, with the style you have gained from much wisdom young lady ❤
Thank you! It was, surprisingly, easier to disengage than it ever would have been in years past. I think that’s progress:).
Ah, those red flags. Sometimes we just want to give those people the benefit of the doubt. While the red flags may fade, eventually they re-assert themselves with flying colors. And, hopefully, we learn in the process.
So true. I tend to like to give people who speak their mind the benefit of the doubt. Blunt is ok. Crass and rude–not so much. That’s why the exec that is retiring is so high in my esteem. In all the time we’ve worked together, he had umpteen opportunities to throw his weight around. He never did. He took charge–but always with class. We could use more of that in this world.
Sounds like you weathered your own storms well and are able to help others now. That’s the way to do it!
You pegged it:). I’m a firm believer in paying it forward. But I’ve also learned to recognize when someone is unable to receive help because they’re too mired in their own muck. Both lessons invaluable!