May 5, 2015


Taming an ego is a noble task. So is repairing one.

Defined, ego is one’s self-concept, a feeling of self-worth, or level of self-confidence. It is that part of the mind or soul that gives us the reality check we need to maintain personal awareness. It is one of the three constructs in Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche.

I once jumped from bed in the dark of the night. As I darted across the floor I ran smack dab into the bedroom door. The inertia knocked me flat to the floor. I could hear the subtle, unsuccessfully restrained giggle of my wife who had been awakened. That was a funny and confusing occurrence. The door represented reality. My disillusionment was abruptly corrected. The ego can be stunned similarly.

A confusing life experience, it seems, can effect the balance of self-concept. Emotions, fears, and perceived challenges, especially when prolonged, may effect our ego. I see this relation occur over and over again in my work as an executive coach. For instance, if you are in sales, a slow start to your month can create doubt, blame, and regrettably even fear that you may not hit the mark. It seems to follow suit that illness, a fall, or an embarrassing setback can go straight to one’s ego as if pounding on the door!

Unchecked, an ego in disrepair can create a perception void of reality. It can display itself as arrogance, brashness, reclusiveness, distance, bullishness, and flightiness. Often people with ego issues come across as bullies or as micromanagers. They place great energy into controlling their egocentric world, the sphere they wish to create, and seek to establish a life that will center on them.

Have you ever had the thought: What an ego! He is sure full of himself! or noticed when someone is compensating for a bruised ego? Have you experienced a low self-esteem personally? Have you watched as someone enters a room head down eyes avoiding contact?

Ego is something we seem to readily evaluate outwardly. Why is it that we assess it so easily in others, and so seemingly difficultly in ourselves? In what shape is your ego?

Closely related to ego is the egotist. Egotism means placing oneself at the core of one’s world with no concern for others, including those loved or considered as “close,” in any other terms except those set by the egotist (Wikipedia).

This behavior is not healthy and certainly not professional in any fashion. Successful individuals seem to regularly evaluate reality. They check their perceptions against standards and morals. True, they change reality through ambition and drive, but they do so without egocentric means. They create instead a force of unity and collaboration. They lead from a space of service, acknowledgement, and innovation.

Healthy people refine and tame their own ego as a means of setting pace for their team or loved ones. They hold others in high regard. They rely on accountability. And the sphere they create invites all to the center synergistically.

Find within yourself the leader who tames his or her own ego. Who repairs it. Who strives for balance in their own life experiences. Promote such a leader to create a culture, to move a company, or change a reality. As you do so, you will likely find doors opening!




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