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This Is Why You Can’t Let Your Ego Decide for Your Career

This Is Why You Can’t Let Your Ego Decide for Your Career

It’s good for you to take pride in your successes, but having too big an ego can be extremely detrimental to your career. If your actions are motivated by self-importance, then you’re doomed to fail. You might not fail right away, but ego is eventually going to catch up to you and damage your career in ways you can’t heal. Read below to learn why your ego is so dangerous, and what you can do to control it.

1. A Big Ego Is a Bad Version of High Self-Esteem

First, let’s identify what differentiates an ego from healthy self-esteem. In short, confidence is good, cockiness is not. Strong self-esteem means that you’re secure in your decisions and aren’t afraid to listen to ideas that are not your own. An ego is when you’re so sure of your decisions that you aren’t willing to listen to any differing opinions, so self-obsessed that you’re convinced that your opinions are the only ones worth listening to. Now let’s go into some of the ways that egos negatively affect your career.

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2. Egos Turn People Off

Co-workers, clients, customers … anyone you interact with in your career is likely to be turned off by someone who acts too self-important. Managing relationships is one of the most important facets of any career, so make sure your relationships are solid. If someone you’re working with doesn’t like you, your collaborations will probably go a lot less smoothly. Shove your ego aside at least long enough that people want to be the same room as you.

3. Egos Get in the Way of Good Judgment

When you assume that your way is not just the right way but the only right way, problems tend to pop up in your career. Egotistical people are oftentimes the most ignorant, holding on to bad ideas and bad practices even when a better option is in front of them. Avoid letting your ego call the shots, so that you can make the right decisions that will further your career instead of holding it back.

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4. Egos Stop You From Respecting Differing Opinions

Confident people are willing and able to listen to other people’s opinions, even happy to hear ideas better than their own. Egotistical people are scared that other people will outsmart and embarrass them, even when no one else in the room considers the conversation a competition. Don’t leap to shut down other people’s ideas. Even if you don’t like them at first, give them a little time to sink in. Look for things to praise before you start criticizing, so that you can respond to the idea with perspective instead of sheer dislike.

5. Egos Value Power Over Trust

Egotistical people think that amassing influence is the most important thing, but your authority will crumble if others don’t believe in you. Power builds from trust, so valuing power over trust is antithetical. Instead of looking for ways to gain power, organically connect with other people in your career. Make real, lasting friendships that translate into successful business relationships. That way, your career will be built on a sturdy foundation instead of a precarious house of cards.

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6. Egos Are Rooted in Self-Doubt

Whereas a healthy sense of confidence is rooted in a good mental state, egos are caused by fear. You actually lack confidence in a way, so you make up for it with bravado. If what I described above seems all too familiar, you might have an ego instead of high self-esteem. Look into ways to build your resolve and strength of character. A somewhat extreme but very effective solution is cognitive-behavioral therapy, treatment with a psychiatrist that helps you face your fears and surpass them through exercises. An ego can be a truly dangerous thing, especially in your career, so be sure to take precautions that yours isn’t in control.

Featured photo credit: john curley via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 28, 2020

The Crucial Letter Your SMART Goal Is Missing

The Crucial Letter Your SMART Goal Is Missing

SMART goals are a simple, logical way to organize your goals as you set them throughout life. Not only does this technique help you identify reachable goals, but it helps break down goals into smaller and more manageable pieces.

However, there is one crucial element (or letter) that is missing from this acronym. This missing letter can potentially make it harder for you to reach your goal – no matter how well you have broken down your goal into different pieces and action steps. However, once you understand this missing piece, you’ll be able to use it to move forward with your goals.

What Are Smart Goals?

If you are not familiar with the SMART goal setting technique and what the acronym means, here is a brief rundown with a simple example:

  • S = Specific — Your goal has to be specific enough (“I want to lose 4 inches off my waist”).
  • M = Measurable — You can measure your waistline every week to keep track of your progress.
  • A = Achievable — Do you think that you can do this? Or are you going too far by getting rid of yet another 4 inches? Or should you expand the goal to 5 inches; is that within reach?
  • R = Realistic — Is your lifestyle stable enough that you can commit to this goal?  Are you mentally prepared to do this? Do you have the resources you need for this goal?
  • T = Time-framed — You could want to achieve this goal within a week or within six months, but it should have a specific time frame.

As you can see, when you break down your goals like this, they become much more manageable and concrete than just saying “I want to to be slimmer.”

All fine and well, except that there is a crucial letter missing in this package – another letter “A.”

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The Missing Letter

The other letter “A” stands for accountability, and this is a great way to make sure that your defined plan is actually executed and is not left just on the talking or planning level. Even if you have crafted a masterful plan by using the SMART goal technique, it becomes useless if you don’t actually execute it. To make sure you start the execution phase, you want to throw some accountability into the mix.

By having some external pressure on your back (in the form of accountability), you are more likely to take action on your goal steps than if you just keep the plan to yourself. Accountability is based on the fact that you want to stand behind your words and save face. When you announce your goal to the world, you realize that the world is now watching you, and you don’t want to let the world down.

Accountability is also about facing the expectations of others. If you announce a goal or a task in public, other people are expecting you will achieve the tasks and goals you have laid out for yourself.

Watch this video and find out how by having dependable accountability, you can reach your goal more efficiently:

Ways to Implement the Letter “A” in Your Goal

There are plenty of ways you can go about creating accountability. Choose which one will work to motivate you the most.

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1. Keep It to Yourself

I was a bit hesitant to include this, since in this scenario you are not telling others about your plans or tasks. However, for some people this might work since your conscience is your accountability partner in this situation. And you don’t want to let your conscience down.

2. Announce It to Other People

Your people could be your colleagues at work, your local golf club buddies, the subscribers and readers of your blog, or your Twitter followers. I would say that accountability is more effective when dealing with “offline people.” Being accountable face-to-face to someone is very effective.

I’m in no way underestimating the power of “online people” either. If you are trying to form solid relationships with others online, you want to keep your word – even if you don’t necessarily meet the people in the same sense as in the offline world.

3. Find an Accountability Partner

A more intimate way of being accountable is to find an accountability partner. This could be a friend or spouse, but it needs to be someone you feel comfortable reporting to. When this route is chosen, you might decide to call your partner on a frequent basis to tell them how well you are progressing on the goal.

4. Get on Stickk.com

If none of the above ways work for you, it’s time to put Stickk into play.

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Stickk.com is a website where you can announce your goal (“Commitment Contract”), and to make you even more committed to reaching that goal, there is money at stake. Money is not mandatory to get set up with Stickk, but knowing that you will lose a certain amount of money if you don’t reach your goal can give you an extra push to get stuff done.

5. Join Mastermind Groups

A mastermind group is a group of like-minded people gathering on a frequent basis (online or offline), trying to push each other closer to their goals. This type of accountability is very common in the business world. When you are in a mastermind group and you have set the objectives you want to achieve by the next meeting, you want to get stuff done and fulfill other’s expectations.

Mastermind groups are a great way to improve your productivity and reach your goals with the help of others.

6. Hire a Coach

If you really want to get personal attention for your goals, then hiring a personal coach may be the best way to stay accountable.

Not only are you accountable to your coach, but you also have to pay for his/her attention. This makes the coach option even more effective. You want to make sure you do everything you can to get the assignments done before the deadline you two have set. So, there is a money factor to keep you accountable as well. Since you want to quickly move forward, this option is a very effective for staying accountable with your SMART goals.

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The Bottom Line

Next time, set your goal using “SMARTA,” instead. Add that letter “A” to the SMART goal setting technique:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed, Accountable.

The accountability factor of reaching your goals may be just the thing you need to make them a reality.

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Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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