How Big Is Your Ego?

Lots has been written about building your personal brand.  I believe in it and so do many of you, but there is always one aspect of it that people find difficult to reconcile, and that is the issue of self-promotion vs. ego.

By itself, ego is not a bad thing.  An ego can be a fantastic tool.  It can motivate and support you,  and help you build your confidence.  But overcompensation with ego can be detrimental to everything you do.  I feel I can safely say that over-ego is the root of all evil.  

Take a look and the landscape of TV personalities, artists, celebrities and pundits whose ideas and personal opinions we consume on a daily basis.  These people all decided at one point or another to put themselves “out there” for the world to see.  They share what’s on their mind openly, which is a reflection of their ego in some way.

That kind of ego fuel is OK.  Some people take it too far.

The media landscape is also filled with people who have ventured to build a personal brand and use it to attack others and satisfy their own ego’s needs to be “right.”  Too many people have to be the smartest person in the room, and they have to make sure everyone else knows it.  Ego is the voice inside their head that makes them bristle up, come over the top and lash out at others.  Unfortunately, the media landscape is also filled with these kinds of people.  The media loves to see a good battle, and ego creates the most battles. 



I’ve been writing this column for over 20 years now, and the first few years I took the time to read each and every comment, personally responding to most.  My ego took a bruising then.

Half the people I read in the comments think I’m smart and the other half think I’m an idiot (or at least just wrong).  These days, I’m OK with that.  I realize I can’t be aligned with everyone.

Building your personal brand is a time-intensive activity and you have to commit to it.  There are some people in the ad biz who have done a phenomenal job of it over the years.  They share their thoughts for the attempted betterment of the industry around them.  Those are the people I support and value, and you should, too.  

On the flipside, there are people who do it solely for the eyeballs and for the sake of feeding their own ego.  These are the kinds of people who stoke the fires only because they like to see flames.  These are the people I have little to no respect for, whom the media should discard -- but they will never be discarded as long as they have an audience.

My request to you for the coming 11 months: Focus on the people who add value and are feeding their ego for the right reasons.  Try not to waste your valuable time with the others.  Maybe then we can all work together to fix the media landscape and improve the world around us, one blog post at a time.

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