Pope Francis did a surprise TED Talk this week. He emphasized peace, cooperation and empathy, of course, but he also shared a breathtaking quote that is worth repeating.

There is a saying in Argentina: "Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach." You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don't connect your power with humility and tenderness.

Working on humility is more than just a nicety. It can prevent you from crashing and burning yourself with your business.

Assuming you know best. Leaders who lack humility are less likely to actually get better. To paraphrase a Stoic saying, "You cannot learn what you think you already know". The wisest leaders are humble enough to understand that others have more to teach them.

Assuming you are the best. It's natural to think you are special - after all, that is part of what drives us to do extraordinary things. However, that ego can also have the inverse effect and making us assume that our difficulties or challenges are much tougher than the next persons. In short, you may have done an all-nighter for your business, but I sacrificed even more for mine. Brene Brown calls this comparative suffering, a perversion of ego where we are using how much pain we've endured as a measurement of worth. As I wrote in my book The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur, it is an arms race that everyone loses.

Assuming you deserve to be the best. Lastly, if you have success based on outside measurements like wealth or fame, it is easy to believe that it is your right versus just luck or timing. It also assumes the opposite: If others aren't doing as well, then it is because they don't deserve it. The subtext of Francis' talk is that power comes and goes, often in unforeseeable ways. As your fortunes rise and fall throughout your career, remember that it doesn't reflect your self worth as much as others' trajectories don't reflect theirs. A healthy attitude should be viewed as something integral to your survival as an entrepreneur - because it does.

Published on: Apr 26, 2017