Leggo My Ego
Let’s be honest, how many of you read that as “Eggo” instead of “Ego” and actually thought that I wrote an article about waffles?
Ego (not the waffle) is defined as “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” If you’re a male, you know all about ego because you have a ton of it. If you’re a female, you know even more about it because you’ve had to put up with male ego your entire life. You’re welcome…I mean, sorry?
This past week, I attended a wedding in Texas for a dear friend of mine and editor of my book. It was a beautiful wedding for two absolutely beautiful human beings. Though you could sense love in the air from miles away, there is one constant word that was brought up throughout the week that I would like to speak on… ego.
The night before the wedding, 20 dudes gathered in one house to celebrate with the groom on his last night of “manhood”. Talk about a whole lot of ego under one roof.
The thing that I find the most interesting is that there wasn’t a single conflict. I’m not kidding. There wasn’t one person who tried to one-up the other person. I’m not sure if it was Texas and people are just unanimously kind or what, but ego was almost non-existent in that entire house. And probably entire state for that matter.
It was pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought was going to happen. I was fairly confident there would be at least one dude in that house who thought his shit didn’t stink and was better than everyone else, but that wasn’t the case. People asked genuine questions about the other person and spent the entire night trying to learn something they didn’t know before.
It was so rare that we actually spent most of the night talking about how rare it was. It made celebrating two amazing human beings even that much more special.
So, I guess my question is, why is it so hard for us to put our ego to the side when the results are something truly special?
Here’s what I’ve learned about Letting Go of My Ego…
1. The person who acts like they have it all together actually does not
I know this one is true because it defines who I used to be. I was the loudest, most obnoxious human in the bar and acted like I didn’t have a care in the world.
I walked around claiming I was conquering the world and I surely was not. There was an inner storm tormenting me daily and the only way I knew how to hide it was acting like I had it all together.
The real me wasn’t revealed until I learned to talk about my insecurities and stop running from them. I still don’t have it all together, but at least now I can admit it.
2. Sit Down, Be Humble
Yeah, totally, Mr. Trump.
You don’t understand what humble means until you have been humbled. I have experienced what it feels like to be humbled and I will never again act like I am better than anyone else.
Being humbled changed my life completely, and I now view the world as if I should serve it. It’s important to view the world as naturally good. The moment we start believing otherwise is when we find ourselves being one of the ones who make it not.
3. Oh, and stop claiming you know everything because you don’t.
No one does.
I think we, especially males, have this idea in our heads that we are supposed to know everything. Then we go and express to everyone else that we do, indeed, know everything.
Once you realize that we’re all human and no one knows what the hell their doing, it makes asking the right questions a hell of a lot easier.
4. Ask the right questions
We need to start asking questions that matter. Questions that show people we really do care what’s going on in their lives.
When did, “what do you do for a living” become the only topic of discussion that matters? Now, when people ask me what I do for a living, I respond with, “Whatever it takes to not be how I used to be.”
What if instead of asking what we do for a living we asked, “What do you do to find happiness… or what do you do to keep your sanity in this absurd world we live in? Ask questions that allow you to dive deeper than just the surface.
5. Reach beyond the surface
I have no desire to have surface friends anymore. I did that whole thing for years, and yes I knew a ton of people, but only on the surface. I decided I’m much better at knowing everything there is to know about you and determining how I can help.
I don’t want to know the surface you. I want to know the real you. The vulnerably authentic you. The you that you’re afraid to show me. Because that’s the person I’m going to give to you and I deserve the same in return.
6. Being vulnerably authentic isn’t a weakness
Admitting weakness is not a failure. Being vulnerable and expressing that you don’t know all the answers is something I struggled with for a long time. But once I decided to be vulnerable and stop running from my problems, my entire life opened up.
I started asking the right questions and finding the right answers.
7. Seek first to understand, then be understood
Or, put simply, learn how to listen.
When I was in Texas, I had a friend tell me that I listen more than I used to. That made me the happiest human on the planet. Old me would’ve been running around that place trying to prove to everyone that I was the man.
Taking the time to listen to people has allowed me to learn more than I ever thought I would. And that has truly made all the difference.
8. Stop comparing yourself to everyone
This one is hard. I’m not even going to try and claim it isn’t. Comparing myself to others is something I struggle with every single day.
But, I no longer get defensive and try to one-up that person because that got me absolutely nowhere. I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that no matter how successful I am there will always be someone further along.
The only thing I try to do every day is be better than I was yesterday. I don’t do things anymore to prove everyone wrong, I do things to prove myself right.
9. Dude, it’s not a pissing contest
I know we sort of covered this already, but please stop trying to one-up everyone. I was this guy for a long time and it’s not cute.
We get it, you’re the man. But why don’t you try telling me something about you that I didn’t know before so I can get a chance to know the real you.
I don’t care about the fluff and how great you are. Tell me something authentic that means something to you. Tell me you’re hurting and life is hard and maybe you’ll find that I’m right there with you, chief.
Then maybe we can figure out ways to help each other.
Anyway, now that my giant ego is gone and we’re at an even playing field, wanna go get some waffles?
That’s all I got for now. Stay tuned, friends