To be exact, what he used to say was, "Pissing in your own pants to give yourself a nice warm feeling".
The "he" I refer to was my first boss when I decided to get into the rough and tumble world of marketing — I learned many of my fundamentals from him and I am forever grateful. I hope he is well. The only reason I even thought of this is because I recently heard a saying cut from the same cloth, "Drinking from your own bath water".
And if I want to round off the triad with pithy sayings there is always, "Living in your own little bubble".
As trite (and slightly off-putting) as these sayings are, there is a crucial message that offers insight into the consequences of being internally focused, self centered, or operating in a world that is closed off (either by design or circumstances). This is one of those crucial messages to keep top of mind because in the end:
Your pants will get cold and uncomfortable very quickly
That dirty bathwater will make you sick
The bubble will burst (and that's usually complete destruction)
There is a story of a leader who was on top of the world, thought the situation was under control, and all his actions were "spot on"; that was until one day he was candidly briefed on the real situation, what was really going on, and how ineffective his activities really were. To that he simply said, "Why didn't anyone say something?"
As an aside, this has reminded me of the book we are reading for our up coming book club entitled Radical Candor by Kim Scott (and that I should crack open the cover and start reading it) — I suspect it will offer further insights into this. In the mean time, I beleive it's always important to ask yourself two questions:
Am I doing this to make myself feel like I'm accomplishing something or will it tangibly make a difference?
Have I created an environment and a channel for communication to get information whether it is good, bad, or indifferent?
Not always easy but crucial for success, and besides, who wants to be stuck wearing a cold and wet pair of pants — it's uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing.