This blog post is a transcript from the video at the end of this post.
So what has your ego really cost you in your life? Your ego has probably cost you a lot more than you realize. It may have cost you your job, may have cost you a career, a relationship, may have cost you not living up to your potential. There are all of these things that our ego can have an effect on us with. And they’re all negative, not any of them are positive. Our ego is our image of ourself or our self-worth or our identity, but the keyword is there is all about ourselves, that’s really the ego.
I work in cybersecurity and a lot of people have an ego in cybersecurity and their ego stems from the fact that they want to be the smartest person in the room. That’s how they get their significance. This causes a lot of issues because if you want to be the smartest person in the room, it’s hard to work well together. It’s hard to come up with a solution because you may have to admit your solution is not the best one. So the ego really affects industries and people in ways they don’t even know.
One of the anchoring moments for me, and I think about this a lot now, whenever I wonder about my ego or I’m nervous about a situation because I’m afraid of what somebody might think, I think about this time when I was in college. It was Christmas break. I went home to Arkansas and my grandfather, while I was home for Christmas break, had a heart attack. My grandfather was the only male figure in my life that I looked up to and he was sort of the rock of the family. But he had this heart attack and I only had so many days for Christmas break at home before I had to go back to college.
So he had this heart attack, he was in the hospital and I just had this idea that there’s no way this man can die because he’s the rock of the family. So I remember going to the hospital and he was laying there in this hospital bed, hooked up to the EKG or the heart rate monitor machine or whatever. And he was unconscious. And I remember I just stood there. I was too afraid to grab his hand or say anything. I just stood there unable to do anything. And I don’t know if it was fear or there are other people around. I thought I was worried about what they might think. But basically I think I let my ego get in the way in that scenario because the reality is I should have just grabbed his hand and told him how much he meant to me. Because after that I went back to college and he died while I was at college a few days later.
So I always think back on that moment, because I had the opportunity to let somebody know before they die what they meant to me. But for some reason, I didn’t do it and I blamed it on the ego and it’s not the right way to live. And it’s something that, even today, I have a hard time putting that aside, even though I’m aware of it. And I think a lot of us do, but it’s important to put your ego aside in order to accomplish bigger things, to have better relationships, to be more transparent, to be more truthful, and to be more authentic.
So I hope when you’re facing a situation, you think about your ego and how your ego might be playing out in that scenario. And you think maybe back to what I said here, and try to think less about your ego and more about what actually matters in that situation. In the big scheme of things it matters less what people think of us, it matters more what we do.