3 BIG Reasons You Should Leave Your Ego at the Door (First in a series of LESSONS I recently learned or re-learned)

You’ve heard someone say that phrase before, right?

“Hey, park or leave your EGO at the door.”

But what does it really mean and why is it so important for us to do?

Earlier this year I embarked on a new venture. I decided to add a new area of focus to my overall practice of coaching. I began a small business CEO ‘Chair’ practice with Vistage Worldwide.

The way it works is that I invest a great deal of energy over a 4 – 6 month period of time selecting members and forming a group of about 12 – 14 high performing CEOs here where I live in Scottsdale. After the initial launch, we then begin to meet monthly. The work that’s done in the monthly meeting is very momentous to each member. Using the Vistage protocols and formula, we process critical business issues, challenges and opportunities. After consideration and clarification of the issues, the small business CEO members will give each other unbiased, high-level feedback and input. The ‘Chair’ (yours truly) is responsible for herding all of these cats and their personalities in the right direction.

Being selected to be a chair with Vistage is a prestigious thing and the work I just described is very significant. However, it’s kinda’ brutal getting the group launched—up and running. Much of the work to select the right members, get them to select you, and then finally to get them to commit the time and money necessary to qualify for the group is front-loaded. (A ton of hours up front) All this initial work comes only after you invest a solid month of your life in their proprietary training program down in San Diego.

If you combine the Vistage vetting/recruiting process with their great training process and then add the time it takes to attract enough members to initially launch, you can easily invest over half a year of your life before you taste any fruits of your labor. So you have to be completely committed to doing THIS kind of work and you have to be doing it for the right reasons. (But that’s a lesson for another day)

The lesson for today is an old lesson (for me) that came back to roost. I had to remember (and re-learn) how to park my EGO at the door!  

In this article I’m going to outline 3 BIG reasons why you may want to consider parking your EGO at the door. I’m suggesting that you do this each and every time you are trying to take another step in your business and you have a chance to be around others that you can learn from.

But first, you know I love words, so let’s look at the definition of the word, EGO:

ēɡō

  • A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance
  • The part of the mind that is responsible for a sense of personal identity

Okay, just ruminate on that definition for now (we will get back to it) but here’s the 3 BIG reasons why you may want to leave your EGO at the door when you have a chance to grow:

  1. A BLOATED sense of self-importance will BLOCK your informational ANTENNA

Having a healthy self-esteem is vital, but when your sense of self-importance takes you out of a place of openness and humility—a ‘place’ where you can learn and grow, that’s NOT a good thing!

So I walk into the room for the first week of Vistage training down in San Diego. It’s been a while since I sat as a student in a week-long training class. Without realizing it, I began to unconsciously position with the two-dozen other new Vistage chairs that were in the room from across the country. I subconsciously began to try to prove to them (and the instructors) that I was one of the smartest guys in the room. I spent the first two days talking more than listening, and quite frankly, I probably missed some good stuff.

“Having a healthy self-esteem is vital, but when your sense of self-importance takes you out of a place of openness and humility—a ‘place’ where you can learn and grow, that is NOT a good thing!”

At one juncture on the third day I caught myself running off at the mouth with a fellow chair instead of asking her questions about herself and her background. I self-corrected and started to drop my façade…I began to shut up a little and ask more questions of my peers—what their backgrounds were, what perceptions they had about the process of building a peer advisory board, etc. I also started to have sidebar conversations with the instructors. Instead of trying to impress them of how much I knew, I asked them thoughtful questions about the blind spots most new chairs suffered as they built their groups.

As the week went on I continued to drop my smokescreen. I realized that I was, by far, not the smartest guy in the room and there was a lot I could learn from my peers and the instructors. But it was Friday, and I think I might have squandered an opportunity to learn more during that first week of training. There were three more weeks of training including one more week back in San Diego, so I knew I’d have a chance to correct the error of my EGO.

When I intentionally stopped feeling and acting so self-important my antennas popped out. I heard more and learned more. 

  1. A lack of COMFORTABLE IDENTITY inhibits the exchange of information (Especially within a group setting)

“Comfortable Identity”…is Joe B. speak for being comfortable with who you REALLY are—not trying to be something you’re not—especially within a group setting. In other words, comfortable identity is about finding a way to be who you are, but not do it in a way that makes you stick out like a sore thumb, or more importantly, pushes people away from you.

“Comfortable identity is about finding a way to be who you are, but not do it in a way that pushes people away from you.” 

When the worst part of your EGO pops out you do that posturing thing—you strive to make sure people notice you and at most times that translates into, “I’m above you, or I’m better than this group of people.”

Not a good thing.

While you’re wasting all of your time and energy on this little exercise in futility, whoever’s around you shuts down. They won’t want to exchange valuable information, thoughts, perceptions and ideas with you. Why would they? Knowing who you are is critical. Definitely learn how to be comfortable in your own skin. Another way of saying this is, be true to yourself, have a cool personal identity, but don’t alienate people with an overbearing identity.

  1. There’s NO way to form a connection (and a true long term relationship) when your EGO’s in the way

Maybe real connections and long-term relationships with influential peers or mentors aren’t important to you, but they are to me. If your sense of self importance is out of whack, or you’re so concerned about your personal identity that you aren’t in symbiosis with an individual or group, there is no way to forge a real connection.

Influential people—people that can really be of value to you in your life—won’t want to be around you. They will perceive you as a blowhard.

Bottom line…they won’t like you.

And if you want to really grow and attract top-notch people into your life, you must be a likeable (humble) person. Now more than ever, you only get ONE chance to make a FIRST impression. Our window for creating a positive first impression is becoming smaller and smaller. People don’t have time to waste. If you walk into the room feeling like you are (or pretending to be) the smartest person in the room, no evolved person will be attracted to you. They will be bored by you or see right through you if you try to posture.

“Now more than ever, you only get ONE chance to make a FIRST impression.”

So, I completed my extensive training with regard to the Vistage Chair coaching protocols. Over the 4-week training academy I re-learned how to park my EGO at the door. As I’ve moved to the “build” phase of the project I’ve had to remember to leave my EGO parked at the door every morning. After all, when I contact a CEO who doesn’t know who I am, I’m just another person that wants his or her time and attention. Sometimes they return my call, oftentimes they don’t. Sometimes they give me the courtesy of a meeting, but more often they don’t.

Don’t they know who I am? LOL!

I can tell you for certain that if I were unwilling to leave my EGO at the door at the onset of this project I’d not have moved this new part of my practice even half way to where I am right now, which is a good place. I’ve already experienced quite a few small victories and several CEOs have already said, “Count me in!” I’m ahead of schedule with regard to my anticipated launch date.

If you are willing to leave your EGO at the door, I can almost assure you that it will do three important things for you and your business:

  • It will enhance your own ability to hear and absorb the valuable things people are saying to you or around you
  • It’ll promote an aggressive exchange of significant insights and information with regard to the people you come in contact with
  • This practice will give you the power to attract and connect with potential new key peers and mentors

An EGO is necessary. It’s an important part of your sense of self, your self-confidence and your personal identity. But, like anything else that is powerful, it has to be throttled back and controlled occasionally.

I mentioned earlier that, “I had to re-learn this lesson,” this lesson, “Came back to roost.” It occurred to me a few days ago (as I started to draft out this article) that each and every time I was faced with a new opportunity I was also forced (at some point) to get my EGO into check. It also occurred to me that, each and every time I didn’t get a handle on my EGO, it cost me valuable time and money.

Get a handle on your own EGO and people will respond more positively to you. You will also be able to learn and absorb much more.

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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on the roles of direct selling, entrepreneurialism and leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation©.

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