What do you think of first when you hear the word ego? An athlete? Maybe a male? That is what I used to think of. I would hear people say, “well he’s good but he’s got a big ego”, or “he doesn’t need a bigger ego.” Until later in life I began to meet some women with a sizable ego of their own. That attitude of “whatever I say goes”, or “I’m right and I really don’t care what you have to say.” What would I say to all of this? Male or female, we all need to check our ego’s on a normal basis.
It seems men used to get a lot of the spotlight when it came to talking about egos, and not really the spotlight we want. Having a big ego can get you places if you can back it up, but it is not always an attractive trait. I never considered myself to have a big ego. I am quite stubborn and at times defensive. If someone challenged me, I did not want to hear it. When I made up my mind, it was made up. That is, until I was told HOW defensive I get. And that it was getting old. I did not want to hear this. What did I do to prove them wrong? I listened to their point of view. Fresh perspective. Low and behold, they might have been right. I know a lot of men and women who have this issue. They are so convinced that they are right and the only way to get to the solution is their way. We all like to get second opinions on projects or procedures when we don’t like what the first person says. Learning to hear all sides has a great way of working out. Not only can you mesh together a plan sometimes, but it assures that everyone has a voice in the matter.
How many of you are always right? How many of you do everything right the first time? Probably nobody. We have all done something wrong. We have all been at fault. If you haven’t, maybe you are not ready to put your ego aside and admit it. I am referring to any setting, home, work, socially, or in outside organizations. We do things wrong, we say things we shouldn’t say, we made assumptions. All of these are human behaviors. I was at work one day and got a message from my boss, “you worked on this account, but you got this part wrong. What happened?” Truthfully, I had been rushing through the accounts, got on a roll and did the wrong thing. My manager got my team on a call because we had been having overall issues with this specific account and my one mistake sent her over the edge. I was so thankful she did not call me out. I was mortified that this had been my fault. Talk about an ego check. Every time I get in a groove, my brain brings that up and gives me the check I need. I’m not at that company anymore and I never told my team it was me. I should have. Being able to accept the faults we have is important. It keeps us grounded and human. We remember we need the team with us and behind us.
Another place keeping your ego in check. Your relationships. We all have those people who we can only be around for a short amount of time because their ego is too big. It is exhausting. Some people are just very high energy and they just love to talk. We have also all been in the mode where we are excited about something and we cannot wait to talk to people and tell them about it. Then there are those people who talk and claim to know everything. When and if they stop talking to listen, they are still a brick wall. Ego’s in relationships are especially hard when it is someone whom you love to be around. We either have to limit our time around them or love them enough to give them some tough love. I was on the receiving end of this when I realized it was time for my kids to go to daycare. I had heard a few times before I accepted it was true.
Lastly, the egos in the workplace. We usually hear of the ego’s in men in the workplace. They tend to speak up more. I have heard, “that room had a lot of big ego’s in it” more times than I can count and more times than not, it was a room full of men with suits. Not that this does not happen, but it is also very stereotypical. I know of women who would fit just fine into that statement as well. Being in a workplace with colleagues and peers who have to bulldoze over everyone is irritating. I love this phrase Angela Hosking uses in her book, Woman On Top: Lead Like a Lady Boss. She was talking about potentially having to coach someone out of her team if they were not a good fit anymore. Hopefully the people in your workplace with big ego’s can be coached on them or coached out.
Ego’s in any place are tough to deal with. They can be exhausting on multiple levels. We have to remember this does not just describe men. I had to be made aware of my own ego and then learn to put it aside for myself and my family. In the future, my coworkers. Learning to admit our faults makes us so much more personable and authentic to people. Hopefully you have a good way of handling the ego’s in your life no matter where they are. If any of these describe a trait you see in yourself, well then maybe work on checking your ego at the door.