Year after year I do the same thing, and the last couple of years I learned a valuable lesson: Ego is the root of many of the negative experiences we have.
Combating ego is a big challenge on a personal level, so let’s focus just on the business side for this column. My marketing resolution for 2017 is a simple one: Never let ego get in the way of a good idea.
You may shrug your shoulders and nod your head, but this is easier said than done. How many times have you opened your email to see someone shoot you a note that critiques your work, suggests an “alternate way of doing something,” or a new idea? How many times have you read the email and become immediately defensive, saying things to yourself like, “I hate that person” or “Geez, him/her again”?
This is your ego talking, and it’s stopping you from hearing something that might be valuable. The truth is that every bit of feedback is a chance to grow and learn. Your ego is blocking the path to being better.
We all do it. Our first reactions are emotional. The challenge is getting past the emotion and into the logic. Logically, you should try thinking that all people have good ideas and some of the best ideas can come from the least likely of sources.
Just because someone is difficult doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas. Just because someone has wronged you in some way doesn’t mean they can’t add value at another time.
You should also realize that people have good and bad moods.When you get feedback from someone, you have to understand the context, and the emotional state of both people engaged in the interaction.
You benefit if you can just focus on the meat of what is being said. If you’re not in a place to listen to feedback, then your reaction is going to be negative. Maybe it makes more sense to hold off and wait until later?
Certainly, don’t respond to feedback when you’re in an emotional state. That never goes well. You’ll be defensive, and you’ll never know if that feedback could have been helpful to you.
Most people you work with, and most people in your life, have good intentions. If they don’t, then you should be removing them from your life because nobody has time for that.
By the same token, you should look at every interaction as a chance to grow, even if that interaction is one you wish hadn’t had to happen.
If you’re constantly judging the
people around you, then your ego is in the driver’s seat.
The better way to approach the situation is to look at each interaction as a clean slate and to have the perspective that each interaction can help you improve in one way or another.
If you enter into any meeting with an open mind, then you can listen, digest and process any new ideas. Regardless of the source, all ideas are valuable.
This is a small and slight tweak to your approach on a daily basis that can help you open up to be better than you were just yesterday.
Never let your ego get in the way of a good idea. Doing so will help you improve in 2017.