I’m a slow reader so it took about two weeks for me to complete Steven Sylvester’s ground-breaking book, ‘Detox Your Ego’.
But during that time no less than six total strangers sought to engage me in conversation having seen the book’s provocative title. The most amusing and touching came from a young black woman working in a Vodafone store in central London.
I watched her deal brilliantly with an incredibly rude woman who had just bought a new phone. When I arrived at the counter I placed the book on the desk. The Vodafone assistant looked at me, then at the woman who had been rude, then turned to me and said; “Tell me more about that book, please”.
And after I have her my take she said, “I’ll write to the Vodafone bosses and ask them to give every new customer Sylvester’s book for free. My life would be a whole lot easier” she laughed. She’s right of course, not least because as Sylvester shows in his step-by-step book, detoxing your ego actually helps you become a happier person.
At its core Detox Your Ego is about realigning who we are, which then enables the reader to move away from the ‘it’s all, or mostly about me’, to actually help us become more effective, more successful and even happier when it’s less about a rampant ego and more to do with what we do, especially for others.
Steven Sylvester, who was a successful County cricket player and now is a sport and business psychologist, helping top sportsmen and women realise their goals by getting them not to focus on the winning, or even the glory, but rather the freedom to do.
He illustrates this well whilst describing a client – a world class snooker player – who nearly imploded as he got to the winning line. Sylvester’s coaching had helped him to refocus on the doing – potting balls – rather than becoming a world champion. As a result success was assured.
Now re-reading the book, I saw huge benefits of this approach for politics. After all, some of our political legislators have the largest egos imaginable.
Self-belief is one thing, but the true essence of an elected representative is to serve others. I instantly though, therefore ‘what if our political class could focus not on being in the limelight or how quickly they could become a government minister, but rather how could they best serve the people who elected them?
Furthermore, those who embrace humility could find themselves becoming more productive politicians, not least because the focus is driven by public service rather than political ambition.
Having read the book, I tracked down Steven Sylvester and told him that on so many levels his book was more than a good informative read. It is an extremely important piece of work.
For me, whether you’re a campaigner seeking to eradicate race inequality, a politician, a footballer, banker, surgeon or student, Detox Your Ego gives you the tools to swim against the cultural tide of ‘me, me, me’, which in turn enables you to be more effective, achieve greater success and be free from your ego’s worse traits.
Steven Sylvester has pioneered a new leadership style though his book DETOX YOUR EGO.
Written by Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote.