When it comes to our business, we have about a million and one things to focus on.
From marketing (are we hitting our target audience?) to customer service and, of course, pricing our products and services to ensure profitability. But when it comes to biz growth, there’s one thing we have noticed that will hinder your scalability more than anything else. And while we would LOVE to say that it’s the easiest thing to fix, truthfully, it can be extremely difficult for most of us living the dream life in entrepreneur-land.
YUP, I’M TALKING EGO.
A three-letter word that most of us tend to ignore. Why? Because our ego is totally elusive — a kind of magical unicorn, if you will. It shows up some days, it retreats on others, all based on factors that we can hardly seem to control. In the book “Egonomics” (which we’d HIGHLY recommend for any business-minded guy or gal!), authors David Marcum and Steven Smith describe the ego as, “the invisible line item on every company’s profit and loss statement.”
If there was an invisible line on your profit and loss statement every month, you’d do whatever you could to get your butt in gear and find it. Seek. And. Destroy. Admittedly though, it’s not that easy. There are so many ways our own ego shows up to ruin the profit party. Let’s go over some of the instances where we’ve seen businesses stall their own growth, all thanks to the little green monster called Ego. Let us know if any of these hit home for you:
BELIEVING YOU ALREADY KNOW IT ALL
Are you forfeiting your own opportunities for learning? It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is that life – especially in business – is a decades-long learning journey. In fact, our learning journeys may never actually end! If you’re at the top of your game, feeling the value that you offer clients and perhaps even beginning to mentor others in your field, you can very quickly begin to believe that there is nothing more to know. It’s during these times that business owners won’t be able to identify when they’ve hit a ceiling or be able to admit that they need help in any area. I mean… you built this business, you’ve put in the time and now you’re the pro. Right?
In this circumstance, our ego will block universal lessons and kindred connections from being able to reach our business when expansion calls. Know-it-alls won’t network, won’t ask colleagues for advice, and won’t trust the experience and education of others. They’ll ignore changes in their industry, will plateau in the space where their knowledge ends, and ultimately… won’t be able to serve the ever-changing needs of their clients.
REFUSING TO OWN UP TO MISTAKES
If you think that knowing it all is bad, try knowing it all and never having the humility to admit when you totally fudged it. (Hey, it happens!) Author Eckhart Tolle from The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, tells us why never admitting our wrongs will fuel the ego:
Do you know anyone who seems to be super confident, always talks a big game even if they can’t back it up with the work, and never seems to do anything wrong? Listen: we all can’t be Oprah, ok?Chances are, they are an egocentric person swimming in a hidden sea of self-doubt. These types of people never want to be seen as failing or being undermined by others, so they prop themselves up with the exact opposite behaviour. Refusing to take inventory of your past mistakes and fix them will cost you your future in business.
STATUS OVER SERVICE
Anyone in a service-based industry knows that what you GIVE to your clients and customers is #1. It’s why clients refer you to their friends and keep coming back to you every year. So often though, our ego gets muddled up in our own perception of status and has us shutting down shop faster than the Sears at your local mall. Our ego wants us to believe that We. Are. It. And this is where damaging competitive behaviour comes into play with the other businesses in your niche.
If you’re too busy posting on Insta about how amazing your new program is just to stop your competitors from scrolling, then you’re too busy to reply to an email from a client needing extra support. How many times have we found ourselves working on something to boost our own status rather than injecting our programs and services with more amazing value for our clients?!
In 2014, actor Jim Carrey gave an amazing commencement speech at the M.U.M. graduation. He totally called out the exact situation that an unchecked ego can place us in, if we let it:
It’s kind of scary knowing that no matter how “big” we get, our egos will still leave us feeling small. This is why SERVICE always trumps STATUS. Amazing service is what really builds our business’ status and integrity. What’s more, business owners that prioritize their status eventually become secret-keepers. They will obsess over protecting and hoarding their highest forms of knowledge and won’t be open to cross-promotions or collaborations. They won’t ever give an extra 10% to the clients that really need it in fear of “giving it all away for free” A.K.A. diluting their high self-worth.
STICKING IT (HARD) TO THE EGO
So how can we move away from fueling our egos and hindering our own growth in business? With a little humility, of course.<3 Listen, I understand how liberating it can feel to get lost in something you’re passionate about. This is the dream of an entrepreneur fulfilled! But with a daily check in, you can be totally certain that there are no ego issues cramping your biz style.
Mistakes happen. Words can be misspoken. Go easy on yourself and others. Don’t let the ego turn you into a perfection monster.
The only way to truly grow and accept the lessons that life sends you!
Ask for help when needed and don’t be afraid to let someone else take the reins.
Our egos love creating mindless chatter in our brains, and like to communicate with us in the form of negative self-talk. Squash it by taking 5-10 minutes every day to sit in stillness. Try a meditation app, or hit up a local Yin yoga class!
Upon reflection, we can see that we have SO MUCH to be grateful for. Make it a daily habit to set aside a few minutes to list 3 things you are grateful for every day, whether in your business or personal life.
We’d love to hear if these tips resonated with you!
Who knows what’s in store for you once you’ve taken away the #1 thing that will hinder your growth. If you’re ready to move forward in expanding when it comes to marketing, branding, design or launching your sales funnel, we’re here to help!
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Ashley Gadd is an award-winning digital marketing strategist, graphic designer, and educator who helps clients turn their squirrely ideas into captivating and strategic brands that convert. Blending her background in nonprofit marketing with her education in design, Ashley offers customer-centric brand experiences that connect the visual and strategic dots to give her clients the tools to build a sustainable and profitable business they’re proud of.
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