steve duross - entrepreneur. craftsman. artist. musings on running and growing a small business

ego mania

let me state at the top of this post that i am well aware of not being everyone's favorite person. i do not aspire to be. i go along, i get along, unless i don't. then we are done. forever.

i loathe phonies. my day is filled with people who, for the most part, are authentic. it's their fallback position and i love them for it. but not everyone feels comfortable being authentic. to be authentic means leaving yourself open and vulnerable and real. whatever hype or bullshit or ego that you might have going on, authenticity puts it on the precipice. if your internal conversation is a lot of noise and the heavy lifting you do is about holding up a facade, then you're fucked.

no one of us can be truly authentic all the time. i will gladly lie if the necessity spares someone's feelings. i cajole when it moves my needs further down the field. but mostly, i find that frank, honest discourse can get me pretty much wherever i need to go. personally and professionally. strip away all the other stuff and being myself is what i have.

recently there have been a spate of emails, newsletters and articles on various local philadelphia business owners who are pushing their agendas with spin. fine. it's spin. we've all done it. i say this without wishing to claim the moral high ground (it's very chilly up there anyway) but what kind of ego does it require for a person to boast that they are the reason everything else exists? it irks me as an entrepreneur to watch someone else claim the center of the universe, but more than that, it's just plain ridiculous. one business person actually listed all the things she does at each of her businesses like a laundry list. in effect, she negated anyone else who ever contributed to the success of her business. then there was another business owner who is closing up shop and blaming everything and everyone for it's demise. actually, i have found that if one is selling products or goods at a premium price, they should excel. your stuff can't be meh if you want to grow.

almost 10 years ago, duross & langel moved to it's current location of 13th street. though i get much of the press, our success is not based on me. i'll admit that the esthetic is me, the idea was mine and i'm a task-master about quality. but really, that's where it ends. the kids who have come to work with me (and a few who have been fully invested as partners) are the ones who daily make us what we are. heart and soul. the people i debate points with, worry over new projects, expand segments, share meals and overall make the day to day into our future are my equals. not one of us is impressed with our accomplishments. we care more for the group than the individual. what matters is today. we have the same goals and are invested in shared opportunity. we care for one another. we are a team.

having a blissful monday afternoon to lie around on the couch reading a book is all i will ever need to make me feel wonderful. being tied to my business night and day would be a waste, especially when there are so many talented people who want to share the journey. it is then that i feel lucky, or blessed, or just plain successful.

if i am remembered for anything, i hope it's for the ability to be authentic. i'd like to be remembered as a valued member of my team. no more.