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Letting Go of That Ego Before It Gets Hold of You

Letting Go of That Ego Before It Gets Hold of You

I confess, sometimes that head swims in the clouds and I prance about quite happy and headless. Doesn’t even take much for the head to go loose, a little success, a few possessions, some consistent compliments, and there it flies away to glory, on its own trip to what mostly turns out to be disaster.

So much is written about boosting self confidence, but what happens when you go overboard, when you start valuing yourself a bit too much and the confidence goes into overdrive, giving way to that big ugly ego. That’s the thing about ego, it’s never small, and it’s never pretty. It eats away at every single aspect of our lives. The enemy you sleep with until, well, until no one really wants to sleep with you, or work with you, or have anything to do with you.

We don’t even realize when it happens, when we become that egoist who cannot bear to be wrong. Who always listens to the boss while going oh shut up in the head. Who waits days for that sorry to come from the partner (while pretty much dying inside). Who stops talking to friends altogether because they pointed out a mistake. Who doesn’t want to even associate with those bunch of not my class people and who contemplates murder if anyone cracks a joke at their expense.

How can you not be a person you don’t even realize you have become? How do you kill that ego before it kills who you really are? Well, here are a few tough ways (I wanted to write easy but that’s just lying!).

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Don’t just be honest with yourself, be brutal.

It’s like that out of body experience people talk about. Once in a while, float out, hover over yourself, and critically analyze the person you see (you know, the way you analyze that particularly irritating person in your team right before appraisal time). Pretend you are your colleague or spouse or friend and evaluate what this person is to them – the good, the bad, and the really ugly.

Be objective, use a sheet of paper if you have to (yes pretty silly, ensure you are alone while conducting such nerdy activities). A little objective analysis and you will see that ego dissipate. The by product is a clearer life path (and probably the need to get drunk depending on how ugly the ugly is).

Make fun of your own silliness.

You can’t be so awesome that you have no attribute worth laughing at (your friends from college could give you at least 10 in less than a minute). Every day, spend a few moments laughing at yourself (OK, make it once a week if the idea is too mortifying to begin with).

A little joke on something silly, a genuine joke, not one of those smartly crafted lines that are meant to sound like self deprecation but actually stink of self appreciation. So if you are stick thin and crack jokes on your apparently increasing weight which is invisible to the naked eye, please, for the love of God, just stop (before Karma comes calling, and by Karma i mean 20 pounds).

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The thing about genuinely laughing at yourself is that not only does it keep that ego away, it also makes you more endearing to others. Besides, it is the best kind of humor. If you are the butt of your own joke, no one can get offended!

Sometimes, when you realize you are wrong, say it out loud.

We all have those moments in arguments or discussions when we realize that we are completely and ridiculously wrong. We still continue supporting our point with all kinds of baloney. That’s not a bad thing, if we accept ALL the mistakes we actually make, we will come across as pushovers who are not to be taken seriously. Sometimes though, you can make an exception and just accept it.

“OK yes, I think you are right, my bad” – it’s a magical thing to say out loud. Helps your head float down to mother earth and makes the other person respect you more for your honesty. Saying it out loud helps you realize that you really are wrong, that you can be wrong, that you are not the most ‘right’ person in the history of human existence.

You may be going ‘Oh I’m not that person anyway’, but if you were to check with your spouse/friend/colleague whether you have been that person, the answer may be very surprising (and very irritating).

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Attempt things you know you are not good at.

Most of us don’t want to spend time doing such things. Remaining within the familiar helps us get a higher success rate which keeps our self esteem and social image intact. That can be a good policy to follow most of the time, but not always. If we never ever fail, our exaggerated sense of self will go on expanding. Of course it also means that we never learn new stuff which is downright boring.

So bake that cake and leave the windows open for when it burns. Take on a new project at work and accept the fact that you will not be awesome in the first month (by the second month kindly do get awesome, experimentation is fine but you need to keep that job). New things and new failures equal less ego and more growth.

Remember the person you have been.

If your past is spotted with times that you would rather forget, remember them. The algebra paper you flunked, that one time you tripped on stage, the first job interview you ruined or that first date when your fly was open the whole time. Don’t think of it often, but once in a while, think about the times when you were a lesser person than you are now. Remember that older version, so that the newer version remains balanced. Recollecting past errors not only keeps Mr. Ego in check, it also prevents you from repeating those mistakes.

To be honest, while I may be writing this piece, I’am no expert at managing my own ego (if you are a friend of mine, kindly stop that rigorous nod of agreement before your head falls off). It is extremely difficult to follow these deceptively simple rules, to remain grounded and true to who you are.

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Developing an ego is as easy as gaining weight and letting it go is as painful as shedding those extra pounds. Nonetheless, this is the diet for a healthy mind, needed for a happy soul. So while I realize I may have served up broccoli in the above few points, all I can say is ‘Eat Up, folks!’

Featured photo credit: Spirit Science & Metaphysic via spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com

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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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