Joe Flacco once again landed in the news when on Monday evening he told WNST (a Baltimore radio station) that he thought he was the best quarterback in the league. Read the Baltimore Sun article The LA Times put up a poll, and as of Wednesday afternoon, 87% said he wasn’t the best. (LA Times Poll) The reaction was swift and furious in social media, with tweets mocking his statement. Inherent in his comments are three lessons for anyone who is in pursuit of being an Integrity Fanatic.
(1) Manage your ego – To do what Joe Flacco does, he needs a healthy ego. In fact, we all do. But when our perception of our skills and ability is out of bounds, we need to dial it back. A survey a few years found that 90% of pastors, students, teachers, and sports players thought they were above average. That’s statistically impossible. Look in the mirror, face the reality of who you are – good and bad – and then be real about it.
(2) Manage your words – The publicity on this won’t hurt Flacco. But when we make a public statement, we need to be aware of how those words will be interpreted. From Mitt Romney’s two cadillacs (Mitt Romney comment) to BP’s Board Chair’s comment on the small people (“We care about small people”), gaffs in the media aren’t new – but they can be prevented.
(3) Manage your actions – If you say you’re the best, your actions need to match your words. That was the gist of many tweets – with critics bringing forth data to bolster their case that his ego was out of control.
Integrity is about being whole – matching your words with your actions – and building trust in the process. Maybe if Eli Manning or Tom Brady had made that claim, we’d be having a different conversation.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 6:1 ESV)
Jesus warned us against doing the right things for the wrong reasons. It’s a choice between image and integrity.*
I was in Israel a few years ago, and after a long and hot day in the Golan Heights, we returned to our hostel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Earlier that morning a friend and I had swum in the sea and enjoyed the refreshing water. So we decided late in the afternoon to swim again and cool off from the summer heat. We had swum out about a mile when we realized we were caught in a strong current and being carried down the sea. Turns out the currents run much stronger in the evening. The same thing happens as followers of Jesus live in the world. We get caught in a current of worldly values that pulls us out of integrity with Jesus. We want to appear successful, confident, and professional. Our society is obsessed with image. That’s just what Jesus warned against – giving to the poor to create an image of compassion, praying in public to appear “Christian”, fasting in public to appear pious – making decisions based on how others will see us. Image is driven by pride, fear and ego and we find ourselves asking these kinds of questions:
- What will people think of me if I do this?
- How will the boss perceive me if I take time off for a family event?
- This coat is warmer, but I look much better in the other one.
- If we advocate for this issue, how will it affect my work, my business?
- How will this statement make my company look in the eyes of the media?
We “edge God out”(EGO). We become two faced and lose our ability to lead.
How are you edging God out?
*originally written for www.LeadLikeJesus.com/blog