How Ego Gets in the Way of Business

This week, we’re going to talk about ego, and specifically, how it gets in the way. Now, the ego of course is a very large subject. It is also is mostly under psychology, not necessarily about business. However, as a talented, tiny business owner, there are times when the ego starts calling the shots and you feel slightly out of control because you’re listening more to your ego than you are to your strategy, your common sense, your mission or your vision. We’re diving into the three biggest ways that ego does get in the way of talented, tiny business owners and their businesses and what to do about it.

The first is the “nothing is ever good enough” problem. Now, this can happen in two ways. One is that nothing is ever good enough for you. Let’s say that you have somebody come and work for you and you nitpick or you micromanage.

You feel like whatever they are doing is not perfect, perhaps not how you would do it or how you envisioned it would be happening or all of the above. Well, that is probably a case of ego. And of you needing to work a little bit on understanding, maybe what you outlined for them to do. Maybe you have not done the job and you’re expecting something that is unrealistic, or maybe it is somebody that they have not been trained on yet, and they just don’t know. But often our ego will think, what I need for my business or what I’m doing has to be perfect. And I’ll accept nothing less.

Another way that this can also show up is that you are never enough. Everything that you are doing is never good enough. Your accomplishments are never enough. You’re never satisfied. Sure, with goal setting, we all love to finish one goal and move on to the next. But this is a little deeper. This is more, I’m never good enough. If you’re really struggling with this, you can seek out some counseling. But the best place to first start to look is your ego. Is to start by saying, am I being unrealistic in this? I love to talk about the idea of done is better than perfect.

Are you striving for perfectionism when you don’t need to? Most people don’t know or care about anything being perfect. In fact, when people choose product A over product B it has nothing to do with which is perfect. It has to do with which is there. Which has the better marketing really, which tells you that it is solving your problem better. It has nothing to do with it being perfect. Nobody cares if it is perfect.

A way to work on this problem is to get out of your head. Go take a walk, or take a day off. Sometimes it comes from just being too involved, too obsessed with your stats and with your looking at things and with your marketing, what you have been doing. Too obsessed with everything that you have to do has to be the best. Maybe you’re trying to prove yourself to somebody else. It may also be because you lost sight of why you were doing this in the first place. So start to remind yourself, what are you trying to accomplish with this business? It wasn’t to be perfect. Nobody sets out aiming for that. Make sure that you’re taking a day off, or at least an hour here, and there, taking a little break and two, you are making sure you’re revisiting why you’re doing it in the first place.

The second is that you are obsessed with being right. Let’s say you are getting into an argument with let’s say a contract person. That their hours are not what you expected them to be, or with a manufacturer that you’re working with, a supplier of some sort, and that something is off on what they’re trying to give to you. Hey, it may be through your social media that you’re doing for your business. And you get into some sort of weird Facebook argument with people. If you are starting to double down on always being right for the sake of being right, that’s often your ego getting in the way.

So what should you think about in that situation? Well, if you are having a really hard time seeing that common ground, or understanding that somebody could have a different opinion than you, that’s really the signal that you need to assess what’s going on. Maybe you should do a little studying up. Become the student, look into the other perspective, look into your perspective, start reading. Don’t do confirmation bias where you’re only reading things that reaffirm what you believe, but really try to look into what the other side is and aim to understand that you don’t know everything. Even those of us who so love to know all the things and so admire and respect knowledge, we don’t know all the things. There’s always more to learn. And especially, there’s always more to think about with other people’s opinions on things. So when you find yourself doubling down on being right in something in your business, start researching, look into the other side, get to the place where you can see the common ground.

If you’re in a big argument with a supplier or with a customer or something like that, the ideal situation is that you do get to a common ground. Not that you…to see to what they’re saying. The idea is for common ground. Understanding where each person is coming from, not letting ego dictate that one of you has to be right for the sake of being right.

And the third is that you must always be winning. For anyone who sets goals, we all know that when you accomplish one, you are ready to take on the next. You’re already looking towards the next one. This is why we talk about so often that practicing gratitude, celebrating those wins are so important so that you are not just moving on, but I’m not really talking about that.

I’m talking more about that you are not satisfied unless you’re the best of the best of the best. Maybe the award starts to become more important to you than the actual work. Everybody can always do with a good read of Steven Pressfield’s Do The Work, especially writers, but in general, this is a great time to remind yourself. It’s about the work. It’s about the process. It’s about putting something out there that you’re proud of. It is about doing something that you really know is solving a problem or is helping the demographic that you want to be helping. Not about just winning things. Winning often is the ego side of things.

If you are finding that you are putting more importance on those press placements and on those Google reviews beyond, you know, maybe 55 reviews on your Google My Business page, and you’re still striving for more and they have to be perfect and they have to be better. You’ve got to step back. If it’s not influencing your business and not moving the dial forward, are you just doing it to keep racking up those awards? Are you just doing it so that you can be recognized and so your ego can feel like you have achieved something? Or are you doing it because you love what you are doing? It’s about the doing, not the accomplishment. I hope you enjoyed this little thought-provoking lesson this week on how your ego can get in the way. These are important things to think about as talented, tiny business owners. I’m Sierra Bailey with Doers Shakers Makers. I’ll be back next week with another business tip.

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