Ego is the Enemy


Lately, I find myself thinking about Ryan Holiday’s book, Ego is the Enemy, a lot. I forgot what starting from nothing feels like. And not because it’s been so long ago that I went through this phase, but because we, I, tend to suppress those unpleasant memories and focus on the good times. I forgot how difficult it was to get that first win.

Back in my X3 days, the most important “win” for us was the coveted FWA Site Of The Day award. It took us 8 years! I can still remember where I was when I received that email from Rob, I can still hear Sorin’s reaction when I told him the news. What an amazing rush. And to win our first FWA with our agency website, a collaborative effort, was even more amazing.

That wasn’t my only win. There were others along the way, be it industry recognition or financial success. And all these compounded to this sense of worth, perceived status – ego. Which have, in a sense, paralyzed me. Assuming that my success in one area translates into another one is by far the worst assumption I can make. Sure, experience has thought me a lot, but by no measure does experience guarantee success.

But my ego tells me otherwise. It wants me to think of myself as successful, without any current or relevant data to back that up. Just because something I did a while ago has had some level of success, doesn’t automatically make any new ventures a hit. Not without putting in the time. And not by just going through the motions either – but by really, actually, sweating the details.

For Homefresh to go the distance, I must check my ego at the door. It is not an easy thing to do. I have failed at this quite simple task before, many of my past projects suffered from hubris on my part. I stumbled into areas I was ignorant about, assumed I knew best just because… How hard can it be, was my Clarkson-esque mantra for a long time.

But I’m hoping that, being aware of what I must do now, things will turn out different. There are so many moving parts, so many little details that we must get right, that there is no room for an arrogant know-it-all. The success we’ve achieved so far is just a tiny fraction of what can be done, as long as I accept that ego is, truly, the only enemy.

Photo by Peter Aschoff on Unsplash


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