The Source Of A Good Ego Stroke

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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CEO, team leader, pastor, principle, president, doctor, lead counsel, public speaker, author, inventor, blogger, mayor, representative, teacher and leader. All of these titles carry a significant amount of public exposure, high visibility and ego boost with them.

I should know. I’m one of them.

For over 15 years I’ve been in very visible role as a youth pastor, communicator, and team leader. The current church I serve in, as well as the previous, are very large churches so lots of people know who I am, even if I have never met them before.

I have to be honest, there’s a “feel-good” part of what I do. The accolades and applause feel kind of nice every once in a while. The “atta-boy” emails and “you’re the best” notes are quite encouraging.

You and I who serve in these types of positions would be lying to ourselves and the world around us if we didn’t acknowledge that. While living by humility and with a servant’s heart is the healthiest thing for any leader to do, we are all human. We all have a twinge in us that likes the ego boost.

The problem is: it’s fleeting. Did you know that? Ego strokes only carry you so far. That’s what I’ve discovered over the past 7 years. I used to gobble up ego strokes for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I used them to get me through to the next big thing.

But when they stopped coming, or became less frequent, or worse, turned negative, I became depressed and viewed myself, and my work, as a failure. When I would arrive home to my wife and kids, and there were no ego-strokes or applause, I would become frustrated.

And then it hit me one day- my family is not responsible for stroking my ego. They’re not responsible for singing my praises when I “grace them with my presence at the end of the day!”

Do you know what they’re responsible? Anchoring me to reality. Keeping me tethered to humility and servanthood. And that is a very, very good thing.

Truth is- if ego strokes are fleeting, and not long-lasting in the first place, then why would I chase after them as my source of strength? And how in the world could I demand that my wife and kids deliver this? It’s not fair and it’s certainly not healthy! I need reality. I need humility. I need to be taught servanthood.

What I’ve personally discovered is this: I could chase after ego strokes, and accolades, and the applause of people I barely know. In doing what I do, there will never be a shortage of this. But at the end of day, it’s not what sustains me. My family does that. My close friends do that. They anchor me to reality. They tether me to the truth. That’s what I need. That’s what keeps me healthy. That’s my source of strength!

I’ve learned the value of humility. It’s very difficult to pursue, at times, but I’m learning every day of my life. I thank God that He has given me an incredible family who teaches me and challenges me to live by this.

Question: Are you chasing ego strokes and accolades as your source of strength? What needs to change?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.