How Strong is Your Ego?
Julie Starr, author.
I coach people how to become better coaches in the corporate world. At one of my recent workshops we were discussing ego.
As a coach, one of the biggest barriers to coaching is our sense of self of our ego.
Whether you’re a coach, manager of people, best friend or a parent our ego can unconsciously get in the way when we’re trying to help others. We find that we are dealing with a constant challenge to step away from our natural instincts that we:
- Know the answer
- Want to solve the problem
- Take control of the situation
Human beings naturally want to maintain our sense of being in control. We do this by:
- Controlling the situation
- Controlling another person
- Making sure we know what’s going to happen
- Being directive
Everyone has an ego! It’s a natural function of the brain that likes to fix things – Here it is fixing our ability to be in control. Ego has a fixed opinion as to whether something is right or wrong. Our opinions can be strong drivers. Our ego creates automatic responses to situations.
If I’m your manager and you challenge a decision I’ve made, I’ll automatically look for ways to justify my decision to you and restore my control of the situation!
It is formed by our own sense of identity or how we describe ourselves. Without ego we would simply have the freedom to just ‘be’ with no limits.
The sense of who we are often relates to how we describe our roles in life. E.g.: Mother, Sister, Best Friend, Employee, and Boss.
Here’s the thing…You are much more than your roles!
Yet with roles we create boundaries or limitations to our sense of self. These roles aren’t real, but they are words to help us organize what we need to do in our life and how we interact together.
If you are a team leader you might be apprehensive and uncomfortable talking in a meeting with a group of senior managers. You’re unconsciously operating from your sense of self based on your own perception of the personal image of being in the role that you’re currently in. You create a limiting belief that you are not as worthy as those other important senior managers. This can create obstacles and limit your success.
Our self-image affects our thinking, feeling, action and results. It can affect your thoughts, feelings and behaviour during a conversation.
Effective people can relax their sense of roles and leave their egos outside the door. Julie Starr best describes this by saying:
“Relate to someone else’s world, by relaxing your grip on yours.”
Relaxing this grip helps you to create effective conversations. You’re not always expressing your opinions. You can remain neutral, stop reacting from your own assumptions and listen to the other person’s reality of their world.
- This helps you to maintain rapport and integrity.
- You are able to listen to what the person is saying without judging them or jumping in to defend.
- You get to see beyond what the person is describing and this allows you to tune into their WHY.
- You can remain focused and ask them about their opinions, help them to explore the situation and open up new perspectives to view it objectively.
- You stay focused and on purpose.
How Strong is My Ego?
Try this quick test to check in on your ego.
Answer True or False to the following statements:
|I can’t take direct criticism very well|
|I won’t be proved wrong in a situation|
|It’s very rare that something will embarrass me|
|I find it hard to laugh at myself|
|I find it hard to accept people with different views to myself|
|I’m conscious about what other people think of me|
|I’m easily stressed|
|I’m not good at listening to other people’s ideas or suggestions|
|I value the importance of status and its power|
|I give less time to people of a lower grade/perceived value to me|
|I don’t relax easily and can get uptight about things|
|I have strong opinions about things|
|People annoy me if they don’t take the good advice I’ve given them|
|I’m concerned about what other people say about me|
|I don’t like it if I don’t get my way|
|Believe I am right and people should listen to me|
|I talk more than I listen|
Answering true to most of these questions indicates that you have a strong ego.
How does YOUR ego show up and influence your thinking, feeling, action and results?