- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
A person’s ego is an integral part of their personality, and it’s also crucial for business… to some extent. These days, far too many people place too much importance on their own egos. It’s true that your ego can give you the ambition and confidence you need to succeed in the business world. But it’s just as true that your ego can lead to folly, rash decisions, and other negative personality traits.
If you’ve noticed your own ego getting in the way of making smart business decisions, and you want some tips for losing your ego, keep reading.
WHAT IS EGO AND HOW CAN IT HURT YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER?
Your ego can best be described as your inner sense of pride and confidence, at least in terms of your business or career. Naturally, you need both pride and confidence to have the grit to start a business, to apply for an interview, to achieve a manager position, and take any other proactive and positive step in your career.
However, having too much ego – that is, if your ego gets to become too prideful and too confident – will result in you making poor business decisions and overstepping your bounds.
For instance, an employee that rapidly climbed the corporate ladder may think that they’re now the best employee in the company. They might say as such to one of their superiors, who ends up being unimpressed and halts their progression for the next year due to their arrogance.
Even worse, perhaps a manager with too much ego overworks their employees and pushes them past a breaking point. This results in a poor quarterly report and a demotion.
As you can imagine, it’s much better to keep your ego in check, so let’s break down how you can do that.
FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION
To start, you can focus on your journey instead of your destination. Put in more business-centric terms, focus on the day-to-day operation of your business and company, or on your employees, instead of looking at the bottom line.
You want to do this because your ego is inherently tied to achievements. If you are less concerned about your quarterly report, you won’t worry about impressing your bosses or achieving accolades at your workplace. This forces you to focus your energies on the rest of your job, neutralizing a big draw for your ego in the first place.
REFOCUS ON YOUR REASONS FOR WORK OR CHALLENGE
It may also help to focus on why you work or why you challenge yourself beyond this meeting the goal. In many cases, people who need to lose their egos were brought up with an emphasis on achievement. But in focusing on achievement, they may also forget why they chose their work field or workplace at all.
For instance, maybe you started working in the film industry because of your love of cinema, but eventually lost sight of that in your pursuit of glory. Refocusing on why you do the work you do may help you lose your ego over time.
PRACTICE GRATEFULNESS IN EVERYDAY THINGS
Another excellent antidote to egotism is gratitude, which is inherently focused on the kindness or strengths of another person. If you consciously practice being grateful to all the people who somewhat (no matter how slight) help your day or make it better, you’ll leave less space to focus on yourself and your own accomplishments.
Even better, being grateful to everyone who makes your day better will improve the moods of everyone around you, too. Consider constantly saying thank you or genuinely smiling at employees who do great jobs and make your job, in turn, easier. Or consider the widespread effect you’ll have at being grateful to strangers throughout your day.
AVOID COMPARISONS TO OTHERS
In many cases, a person’s ego is tied to comparison with others, like it’s a competition. After all, your ego is inherently focused on achievements, and many achievements can only be earned by one individual. This is especially true in the business world. Maybe your ego, for example, is focused on becoming the best manager in the company, which requires you to compare yourself to the performance of other managers.
But if you stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll avoid giving your ego something to fixate on. Indeed, comparison is one of the driving forces for general anxiety and depression, especially in the workplace. Avoiding undue comparisons between yourself and others will be better not only for your mental health but also for your ego.
AVOID BOASTFUL TALK AND SITUATIONS
It should go without saying that you should try to avoid any boastful talk or situations where your ego will be directly fed. Try not to get into competitions or workplace contests where you might win and receive praise. Similarly, always downplay your own achievements and accomplishments and try not to invite praise from your employees or peers.
Doing this directly avoids feeding your ego and will make it smaller and less of a constant presence in your mental decisions. After all, your ego only grows and becomes insufferable if you give it a reason to feel more important!
PRACTICE PRAISING OTHERS
A more direct antidote is consciously practicing the praise of others. In fact, if you have serious issues with your ego at the moment, we’d highly recommend constantly praising your employees, peers, and superiors as much as possible.
Doing this causes a similar effect as when you practice lots of gratitude. It takes your mental focus off of yourself and neutralizes your ego’s power. Furthermore, praising others will make you look better in turn and will improve the days of everyone around you.
If you’re a manager, it’s easy to see all the widespread benefits this could provide. Praising your employees will likely make them more productive and more willing to do excellent work. It also results in a better management style that promotes long-term workplace health and positivity.
Essentially, there’s no reason not to praise others instead of yourself.
Stay up to date
Want to know anything else?
We’re an open book so hit us up if we’ve missed anything here or if there’s something else you’d like to know.
Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell