Swallowing Your Ego
I tried hunting it down, but there is no good definition of the word ego. The easiest way for me to explain the word is Self Pride with a slightly negative connotation.
If you are in business and really serious about succeeding as an entrepreneur or an employee, I suggest that you learn to swallow your ego.
In business as in life, you are going to come across all kinds of people. The good, the bad and the ugly. As much as you would always like to work with people you admire, you are going to find a whole lot of people and situations where you would be terribly tempted to do the thing that first comes to your mind, like walk away from a business deal, quit a job or fire an employee. You may feel like ripping the person in front of you into 3 pieces. But for your own larger interest, you would have to bury your pride and move on.
A few examples:
With your boss: I have a friend who works under a terrible boss. Every day, he battles the urge to hurl abuses at him. However, he works towards overcoming his emotions. Why? Because he needs the money, but more so because he knows that he is learning a lot in the profile, an experience that will come in handy when he starts his own venture.
With your Employees/Staff/Team members: My otherwise good driver once refused to do something that was within the confines of his job. I threatened to fire him. He still disobeyed. I was extremely tempted to act upon my threat and save pride. But I didn’t. Since then, he has been his regular ‘good’ self. Today when I hear from friends about the pains they go through to find a decent driver, I’m happy about my decision of not firing him that day just cause he had hurt my ego.
With your clients: As a businessman, I sometimes feel that our clients are completely unreasonable with us. Since we mostly work with large companies, we deal with multiple people who influence and take decisions. There are some clients who know that they are spoilt for choice and thus try to take undue advantage of us – treat us in a way that hurts our ego. Again it’s so tempting to reject the business. But if we are looking at meeting our objective of sustained growth we have to service a whole array of clients – the ones we love to work with and the ones we have to work with.
The thing to remember and ask yourself is: is swallowing my ego actually taking me ahead? Is it helping my cause [more money, more business, promotion, learning, etc.] in the medium and long run? If the answer is an affirmative yes, then swallowing your ego could be the best thing for your career.
In business, there is always a choice between doing the smart thing AND the thing that comes to you first/easily. Always do the smart thing. The thing that may be a little more painful at that time but will always be more helpful in the long run.
Now, there is no magic formula on how to do it. Just do not act upon stuff immediately. Control the urge of saying or doing the first thing that comes to your mind. Wait. Hold your horses. Get some perspective by talking to a sensible friend and then take a more rational decision.
That client who made us feel stupid to start with – ended up giving us a whole lot of training workshops. The money we made from the project is helping us grow our business and buy the car I desired for a long time. All because I swallowed my ego and massaged his a little.