Good Afternoon Friends!
Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about ego and how an unchecked ego can hijack our careers, relationships, and families. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with having an ego.
Feeling important is good, and I could argue even necessary, but that damn ego needs to be regulated. An unregulated ego affects your decision making, mood, attitude, and how you navigate life.
Your ego wants to fight; it wants to fight something or anything. It doesn’t want you to be at peace. Your ego needs an enemy, and in fact, it is your enemy. Speaking of fighting…
As a teenager, I loved to fight. I would seize any opportunity to engage in an altercation. My desire to get better at fighting led me to martial arts. I started taking Judo classes at a local studio when I was 16.
Six months into my studies, my fighting skills had improved significantly. I was invited to compete in a small tournament with a dojo across town. I went there with my head held high, confident with my newly acquired skills, and … well, I kicked ass.
It didn’t matter whether the other kids were bigger or smaller than me or how many belt levels they’d earned. I was in it to win it.
As you can imagine, my head swelled to the size of a football field after this. I started fighting more, talking trash, and terrorizing any bully who dared show his face in the yard.
Then, one day, I showed up for Judo class to find the place empty except for my sensei and his wife, a petite woman named Norah, who looked like she weighed all of 90 pounds. My sensei said, “Tim, we can do one of two things. We can all head home, or you can work with my wife. She’s training for her brown belt test, and she needs a sparring partner.
“I’m in,” I said.
I don’t think I stood up straight for more than three seconds at a time for the next two hours. That tiny woman threw me from one end of the dojo to the other. She never said a word. Every time she knocked me down, I got more frustrated and aggressive – but the more I tried to channel that aggression into our sparring, the faster she knocked me down.
When it was over, I sat there on my butt for a few minutes, totally stunned. I had just had my ass and ego kicked by a woman half my size who was old enough to be my mother. Without a word, I gathered up my stuff and did my walk of shame to the front door. Before I could leave, my sensei came up and put his hand on my shoulder.
“In life, there’s always someone better than you. Remember that.”
This moment is featured in The Intentional Leader and was a turning point in my life. I became self-aware enough to understand that I was more significant than my ego. My ego was stopping me from enjoying my life. And when my ego was in control, I started accepting things as they were.
So, how is your ego inferring with your life? As Intentional leaders, we can learn to accept the reality of the moment by simply noticing when your ego is our enemy and gently guiding it back to the centerline.
[VIDEO] Failure is Not an Option
During the Apollo 13 moon launch, disaster struck. When an oxygen tank exploded, the scheduled moon landing was aborted. Subsequent technical problems threatened the astronauts’ survival and safe return to Earth.
In this scene from Apollo 13, Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) is determined not to lose an American in space. Are you committed to the mindset of “Failure is not an option!” What are you willing to do to find success?
[VIDEO] Ego’s Boundaries?
In my book, The Intentional Leader, the third symptom of Ghost Mode is our ego. We all have an ego. It’s part of the way we are constructed as humans. It helps us identify as individual beings and separates our stories and experiences from other people’s. It helps us retain our autonomy and inner authority.
Like any other tool, the ego can be helpful to us if we use it correctly. It can facilitate the balance between our inner experience and our outer world. It can help us stay true to our code ideology and navigate relationships with integrity. But, like any other tool, it becomes a liability and a weakness if overused, underused, or used incorrectly.
In this TED talk, Lose your ego, find your compassion, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf combines the teachings of the Qur’an, the stories of Rumi, and the examples of Muhammad and Jesus, to demonstrate that only one obstacle stands between each of us and absolute compassion — ourselves.
One of the biggest challenges that aspiring leaders face comes from within. It’s not macro events like an economic meltdown, the great resignation, market fluctuations, or the great diversity in life. It’s our EGO.
Here is a relatively short article, “How to Redefine ‘Great Leadership,’ Starting With the Ego – Mindful meditation is key to successful leadership.”
The author mentions the phenomenal Jim Collins Harvard Business Review article “Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve” based on his seminal research.
The Ego Continuum
The ego is neither good nor bad. It’s not black and white, right or wrong, but it is a continuum much like the volume knob on a stereo system. Some music sounds better on a slightly lower volume level, while others sound better on screech.
I love this quote by John Lennon because it shows our ego as a dual-headed monster.
“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
― John Lennon
The Intentional Leader Update
Forty and counting Amazon five-star ratings. I have received thirty-one global reviews. I still need more reviews for Amazon to keep me integrated into the recommendation engine. My next milestone is to get to fifty reviews by the end of March 2022. I need nineteen more reviews, and I need your help!
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HR Power Hour!
David Ciullo interviewed me for his Career Management Associate’s HR Power Hour Radio. We had an amazing conversation about The Intentional Leader and leadership transformation. Our Podcast is scheduled for release on March 26, 2022.
Business Influencer Podcast
Next week, I will be interviewed by Ninder Johal from Business Influencer Podcast. Ninder explores the success stories of entrepreneurs, business leaders and senior policymaker delving into the latest news such as: technology, business, philanthropy, entrepreneurship and thought leadership.