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Is the 21st century’s newest “cancer” attacking your family?

August 5, 2017





Note from Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family:  This week, we’re pleased to have as our Ziglar Family guest blogger author, speaker, and confessed recovering ego-holic, tim allston. (Yes, he prefers to have his name in lower case letters… you’ll see why!)

In 1997, tim was privileged to meet Zig Ziglar, who encouraged him to pursue his speaking career, and today he continues to be mentored by Juanell Teague, author of The Zig Ziglar Difference.  Most importantly, tim is the proud husband of Elaine, and daddy of Morgann Danielle. You can learn more about tim and download his free eBook at .


Cancer is defined as the “uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the body.” Each of us knows someone with this sometimes-incurable disease, which alters forever a family’s emotional and financial energies.


Our bodies continually create new cells and “retire” old cells, but some of those retirees simply won’t leave. Instead, those deadbeats hang around and amass into what we call tumors.


When these tumors reach excessive levels, one is said to have cancer. With proper management, cancer levels can be reduced — but never cured, solved or completely eliminated.


What if I told you that the 21st century has brought about a new “cancer,” one that threatens even more individuals and families?


It’s the disease of ego-holism.


Ego is commonly defined as a sense of self.  We all have one, as we should.


By contrast, ego-holism anchors on excess of self. Unlike egotism (uber-egos), this disease covers both big egos (vanity, arrogance, conceit), and little egos (insecurity, low- or no self-esteem).


While ego-holism is almost always seen as someone else’s problem, not mine, here’s the bad news:  unless you are extraordinarily unusual, it is your problem, too.


See if any of the following could describe you or your family members:

  • In 2016, over 24 billion – yes, BILLION — “selfies” were uploaded to social media sites. Did you post one?

  • Do you tend to over-promote yourself, especially on social media, in an attempt to showcase your superior life experiences (big ego-holism)?

  • Are you afraid that if you don’t promote your interests, you will go unnoticed and disregarded (little ego-holism)?

  • Do you constantly compare yourself to other people?

  • Are you routinely late for commitments, like meetings and appointments, as if you’re too important to be punctual and fit into someone else’s pre-existing and announced timetable (big)?

  • Or, are you routinely late, hoping to slip into a meeting or appointment and to be “invisible” or go unnoticed (little)?

  • Do you feel jealous when others succeed?

  • Do you crave recognition and/or respect?

If you can answer yes to any or all of these statements, welcome to the club!  I’ve been there — and, in fact, I’m still there!


What I’ve come to learn is the inescapable fact that ego-holism, like cancer, cannot be completely solved, cured or eliminated.


Here’s the good news, though: there is treatment!  Ego-holism can be managed properly.


But to do so, you must begin at the T-O-P:

  • Target the problem – whatever your ego-holism challenge, whether it’s big ego or little ego, it’s time to recognize it, bring it to light, admit to it, and put the bull’s-eye on it.

  • Own the problem – resist “blame-gaming.” Take full adult responsibility, and then…

  • Proceed by taking intentional steps to improve.

So, what are some of those intentional steps?


First and foremost, managing and controlling ego-holism relies on an ongoing partnership with God. He dispenses Himself as treatment in direct proportion to our faith – and His support is made available to us immediately through prayer. Consider just a few scriptural references:


Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3


God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6


For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11


As you become fully invested in this critical partnership, then you’ll be empowered to take some additional steps, including (but not limited to):

  • Help others, often.

  • Talk less, listen more – and more carefully. (Stop planning your next words while someone is speaking to you).

  • Forgive, let go, and move on.

  • Express gratitude as often as you possibly can.

  • Resist the urge to always be right.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others.

  • “If it’s a boast, don’t post.”

  • Recognize and rid yourself of habits of false humility: admitting small sins but ignoring big ones, publicizing your own sacrifices to impress others, ‘humble bragging,’ or telling others how humble you are.

  • Detach your self-worth from objects, i.e. the car you’re driving, the brand you’re wearing, etc.

  • Be open, honest, and vulnerable. Emotions are healthy, and bottling them up is a sign of ego-holism.

  • Practice responding versus reacting.

  • Realize that not all advice is criticism.

When we — as individuals — begin to better manage ego-holism in ourselves, then, by our example, we can model humility, selflessness, modesty, and grace, encouraging our family members to do the same.


Your Family’s “Lifetime Guarantee”


Unfortunately, managing ego-holism will not be a one-and-done sprint, but a protracted marathon race. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll be attacking this newest 21st century “cancer” for your lifetime.


But you’re not alone. Your help will come — first from Above, and then from around your kitchen table!


Trust me, I know.


My wife Elaine will be the first to tell you that I’m not yet recovered, and our 13-year old daughter Morgann Danielle will say, “Amen to that”!


But even though I’m not yet recovered, I thank God that I’m finally out of the woods and on the right path, and I’m blessed that my family is on that path with me as we pray, learn, and grow together.


With His grace, I know there is hope.  And as John Maxwell said, “When there is hope in the future, there is power (to persevere) in the present.”


What do you think?  Is ego-holism a problem in our society today?  Is it a problem in your household?  What steps do you take to fight it?  Please share your thoughts below! 


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