EGO - YOUR ENEMY?

Is Ego your Enemy?

In the ‘70s, Skyhooks, an iconic Australian band, had a hit song, ‘Ego is not a dirty word’. So iconic, that the mere mention of the word “Ego” sends the Australian (of my era) mind into a lyric mode. (Am I right?)

I grew up believing that Ego wasn’t a dirty word however in recent reads, ‘ego’ has raised its head as the culprit and the demise of so many known identifies. Ego caught my eye while book browsing and this week I read Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday, a New York media columnist, reformed workaholic and historian.

To be told that ego is the enemy, the reason for so much sadness, failures, and unfulfilled dreams, proved a challenging read. However, as I flicked through the pages, it proved to be an interesting, informative and I must say, influential read. If a book can change your view on a matter then it’s been a worthy read. I was really challenged by this book’s content– more so than any other book I’ve read during my self-imposed reading ‘challenge’. Ryan’s style is sophisticated, yet soothing with so many stories and his blatantly biased beliefs.

With his rich source of historical stories and fact, I found the read a most educative read – it’s saved me reading 20+ historical books – learning about his choice of individuals who have either suffered their own demise of egotism or mastered a humble life. I feel most informed about; Aristotle, Churchill, Machiavelli, General Marshall, Howard Hughes, Genghis Khan, Benjamin Franklin, Katharine Graham, Angela Merkel, Malcolm X, Steve Jobs and Adam Smith.  

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sober, when far too many leaders are intoxicated - with ego, with power, with position.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sober, when far too many leaders are intoxicated - with ego, with power, with position.

The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition: an unhealthy belief in your own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.

The book is organised into three sections: Aspire, Success, and Failure. Purposely designed to heighten your awareness when ego will plague you, encouraging you to start your training to suppress ego and to replace the temptations and cultivate strength. In other words: be humble in our aspirations, gracious in our success and resilient in our failures.

I would expect that my many extroverted mates will be intimidated with the views scattered through the book and suspect that 51% of the population, the introverts in our world, will agree with the populated world of extroverts who are overly noisy about their passion for sharing in their egotistical manner!

WHEREVER YOU ARE, WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING, YOUR WORST ENEMY ALREADY LIVES INSIDE YOU: YOUR EGO.

I found myself sinking into thoughts of the past, using this new Ego lens to view people’s performance, behaviours and management of matters. Ego has taken the paramount place in guiding their choices and humility has been left behind.

I suspect that this book would be a great gift for that person who’s Ego needs taming or needs some training.

I’ve been following Ryan on Twitter for the past week and he shares an abundance of historical quotes.  This is evidently his style as the book is saturated with wisdom and challenging thoughts. To master our greatest opponent, our ego, let’s contemplete these thoughts:

·        Passion typically masks a weakness – it is a poor substitute for discipline, master, strength, purpose and perseverance.

·        We tend to think that ego equals confidence, which is what we need to be in charge. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.

·        Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind.

·        Passion is form over function. Purpose is function, function, function.

·        What is rare is not raw talent, skill or even confidence but humility, diligence and self-awareness

·        The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.

·        Talk depletes us – while goal visualisation is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress – the same goes for verbalization.

·        The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.

·        If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.

·        Only when free of ego and baggage can anyone perform to their utmost.

·        When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real.

·        It is poise, not pose.

·        One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible.

·        Don’t allow your ego’s noise to indulge in games – ignore the noise, don’t allow it to distract you. Restraint is a critical skill.

·        Man is pushed by drives but he is pulled by values.

·        Disease of Me – after a team starts to win, the simple bonds that joined the individuals begin to fray – people calculate their importance.

·        Silence the noise around you; ‘go into the wilderness and return with inspiration, a plan, perspective and an understanding of the larger picture.

·        Creativity is a matter of receptiveness and recognition. This cannot happen if you’re convinced the world revolves around you.

·        Power doesn’t so much corrupt: that’s too simple. It fragments, closes options, mesmerizes – clouds the mind precisely when it needs to be clear. Sobriety is a counterbalance, a hangover cure – or better, a prevention method.

·        Ego can’t see both sides of the issue. It can’t get better because it only sees the validation.

·        Vain men never hear anything but praise.

·        Not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.

A great metaphor is shared regarding training to master your ego. Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because we’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever. Every day dust comes back. Every day we must sweep. (Every minute of the day and then sweep again.)

If you struggle with the discipline of changing your behaviour, it's worth considering asking for guidance. Get in contact with me to help you with your ego.

I’m looking forward to my 20th book which I found in my library – it’s by Donald Trump! 

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

All eyes are on you

Our society is becoming increasingly under video surveillance; we have cameras on all city corners, YouTube is the most watched global channel which is made up of 'home made videos' and our life is being captured on on all forms of social media and devices 24/7. 

Our life is one long play button!

Our life is one long play button!

So, it's disappointing when you observe a leader in action and they are sending all the wrong messages ... even before they open their mouth!

We have devices in our hands (almost attached) which provide the functionality to record these behaviours - whether that be action or sound. However, we don't proactively catch ourselves, let alone ask others to assist in collecting data for a factual conversation.

I was providing feedback to a client recently about the benefit of their need to show some emotion when they're experiencing conflict. Bottling it inside doesn't aid their health and keeping a poker face doesn't allow others to understand their thoughts and feelings about the change.

We have never been so visible - we are 'on stage' in a leadership position. ALL EYES ARE ON YOU - whether that's from admiration, respect or waiting for you to slip up.

Rolling your eyes, taking calls in the middle of a meeting, being sarcastic, making derogatory comments about team mates/colleagues/clients/managers and making deflective comments (which my 8 year old would use - " they made me do it") are totally unacceptable.

If this has touched a nerve, do yourself and in particular, your people a favor - ask for feedback from someone who will be honest or use the video app on your device to capture your body language - there really are no excuses in today's tech savvy world.

You are accountable for your leadership performance and it's possible to make small changes which will make dramatic changes to your business and importantly the people you influence. 

 

 

 

 

Do you celebrate Hump Day?

  IT'S HUMP DAY! 

The day which we strive to survive in order to see the weekend on the horizon.

We sometimes celebrate it (any excuse to have a wine during the week!) - especially if it's been a tough few days. 

Whilst I enjoy my week of work, I do look forward to Friday night and my weekend. We celebrate the week @ 5pm with champagne & chips, reviewing what was great and plan out the weekend.

What I want to differentiate is that some folk whinge, whine or worry about their week and on the weekend do the same about the following week! I'm not saying they are negative folk, they are expressing their unhappiness about their current state of being.

I offer you a tool which you can use with those who you hear being unhappy about their work/life.  It's a conversation model which opens the opportunity to discuss how to make decisions, choices, changes, when faced with a crossroad in life.

The Crossroads Model - The Grove Consulting Firm, SF, USA

The Crossroads Model - The Grove Consulting Firm, SF, USA

It can be completed individually but we all know that we 'put off' these types of activities. So, if you can take the lead and do it together, you would be really helping both of you.

If this helps you or a colleague then our Driving Your Life program is a vehicle to make decisions in life. We use numerous reflective and conversation tools to choose the right road to take. 

Connect with me to learn about our program

What's your excuse?

I attempted a run this morning - first in two weeks as I've had a cold. (Excuse #1)

The weather is mild; perfect for an early run, even my running clothes were at then end of my bed - but I just had to check my social media, emails etc. (Excuse #2)

So, I eventually got out at 6am, ran about a km and it started to rain! (Excuse #3) 

Thinking I'd keep close to home I then realised I had to get the household out earlier than usual - and home I went. (Excuse #4)

 

How many excuses do you have in a day? I hesitate to guess. Whether it's to avoid giving someone feedback to a colleague, making that call to sell your great idea to a stranger or even saying "No" to that coffee - we all make excuses to avoid the feeling of anxiety or loss and the affect on our ego!

 

Resilience, courage and discipline all come to mind when I consider the development of a character required to avoid these excuses. 

Be up front with yourself - build your list of tasks/goals/challenges and all the excuses to avoid tackling these. Then, remind yourself why you need to complete these tasks/goals/challenges, how you're going to achieve these and how you might reward yourself!

No excuses this week! 

Will your New Year's Resolution create a Revolution or Movement?

It’s the start to our financial year – a time to kick off a new budget, implement a new plan, and set tougher goals and targets. 

I always get excited with a new year – I set challenges for myself in an attempt to keep with the pace of change. I know what I want, what I really need and I like to dream of bigger and better changes in my business!

Listening to people discuss their business plans and observing what they do I often see a void in wants and needs and in particular their ‘change plan’. It’s a simple void (easily avoidable) - no matter how courageous the change is - if they avoid getting people involved in the planning then it’s tougher and costlier to get them on-board down the track. How many times have you seen the revolt towards change?

Not everyone wants to join the change movement; however your resolution can be about:

  • Talking openly about the creation of the budgets, plans goals and targets
  • Explaining ‘the why’ – rather than the what, who, when
  • Asking "how are we going to achieve or meet or exceed?"

Leaders facilitate conversations and today’s an opportunity to create a movement which people want to join to achieve and exceed your goals.