Last week I was invited to join a friend at a University of Alberta Athletics breakfast gathering.As a last-minute invite, I was surprised to find myself sitting at the front of the room with the guest speakers – the director of Athletics, Georgette Reed, athletes Lauren Gillespie and Tyler Metcalfe – and in the middle of a healthy dose of feel-good ego fanning.
We often think the ego is a bad thing, that it leads only to selfish acts and violence.But the stories of our speakers revealed something different.They revealed how sport has provided them the opportunity to develop as a person, to achieve things they never dreamed possible.How there is room for anyone to achieve more than they think they can – especially with the support of others.And these very same people continue to give back, endlessly.
The ego tells us that we can get people into a room and tell them stories to gather the funds to create more stories. (the Athletics program needs more more money from people like you to keep and produce athletes and people like these!) I assume most people in the room are/were involved in sport in some way – athletes, former athletes, coaches etc – and now in a position to give back. Our egos compel us to be in the room and feel that familiar competitive camaraderie.In a healthy way, our ego feeds our desire to ensure that others have the same opportunities.It feeds our purpose.It helps stabilize the purpose: funds for ongoing excellence in athletics.
The irony – I did not attend U of A, let alone their athletics program, but I could not escape feeling great about the program and intensely feeling that I was part of the family.I resisted the urge to pull out my wallet on the spot, but the envelope is sitting on my desk waiting for my next round of community giving in August.It certainly fits my criteria of giving to the things that feed the heart and soul of a community.
NOTE – A Spiral Dynamics integral reading of this event:by design, a very well organized BLUE event that generated intense, healthy egocentric RED to support the BLUE desire to find meaning and purpose and provide stability.