So today, I want to talk to you about your ego, and why you should kill it.
If you’re looking to identify new opportunities, have meaningful conversations, build better relationships, innovate and create real value in the world then the one thing that is almost sure to get in the way is ego.
Because ego either roots us in superiority — which results in our not really listening — or inferiority — which results in not putting ourselves out there.
Our egos prevent us from:
Putting ourselves situations that might challenge us — that might challenge our ego — as such, we miss out on new experiences and opportunities to grow.Having difficult conversations which might serve to build a better relationship and generate better outcomes. Instead we choose to email or text because it feels safer, easier and not as confronting, we never learn to truly connect with people and ultimately miss the opportunity to sharpen our swords, become better communicators — which by the way, is an absolutely amazing sales tool, if you happen to be in that game, which by the way, we all are in some way, shape or form!Asking questions of other people when we don’t understand something for fear of looking foolish, missing the opportunity to learn in the process. How many times have you said “yes, I understand” when somebody has asked you a question, even though you had no idea what they meant, only to end up Googling it later?Listening to other people because we feel the need to assert ourselves by talking and not letting the other person talk, often because we fear they might challenge us in some way — if all we do is talk we don’t listen, if we don’t listen we don’t learnEmpathising and seeing things from the other person’s perspective — inhibiting our ability to solve problemsTaking criticism constructively and instead, we take any criticism personally. Innovation is all about the build, measure, learn feedback loop that market testing and a healthy dose of humility supports.
How many times have you had a conversation when all you did was wait for the other person to stop talking so you could say what you were planning to say minutes ago? Chances are you haven’t been listening to that person or you would respond to what they were saying, not simply waiting to say something preconceived.
Our egos ultimately prevent us from getting better — whether it’s in our professional or personal lives — because when we operate from a place of ego, we operate from a place of fear — fear of hurting our egos, so we avoid hurting our egos by avoiding living and if we do that then we will take our carefully guarded egos to the grave without having given ourselves the opportunity to reach our potential.
So today, maybe try and catch yourself every time you’re operating from a place of ego. Whether it’s judging somebody, shying away from a difficult situation, censoring yourself and so on. Notice your ego, greet it and as you do that, watch it subside and open yourself up to the growing opportunities that external events, objects, people and places bring.
Steve Glaveski is on a mission to unlock your potential to do your best work and live your best life. He is the founder of innovation accelerator, Collective Campus, author of several books, including Employee to Entrepreneur and Time Rich, and productivity contributor for Harvard Business Review. He’s a chronic autodidact and is into everything from 80s metal and high-intensity workouts to attempting to surf and hold a warrior three pose.