Ego has an interesting relationship with success. Today, I’m talking about the downside of having a big head when it comes to building a career. Yes, I acknowledge that many of the most successful businesspeople are also some of the most egotistical individuals you may find. With that being said, I think it’s a good idea to make sure to keep that ego in check, especially if you’re a creative.
In Business, Confidence is key (or is it?)
It’s kind of funny that I’m doing this mini TED Talk about confidence and ego since more than half of my life, I struggled with self-esteem. For myself, the biggest obstacle was often a lack of confidence. I fully understand that if you don’t believe in yourself or what you’re doing, you’re not going to make it far. This is especially true in the business world. So, yes, confidence is key. However, overconfidence can be just as damaging as a lack of it.
How Overconfidence Hurts Performance
Story time! Before college, I had no confidence and no self-esteem. In my head, I was the biggest idiot I knew. Once I started to realize that I had a real skill for writing, my self-loathing let up a little. Skip ahead several years, and I’m working with people from around the world—People who are happy to pay me for my writing services!
Not only am I getting paid to write, but my clients typically love my work and often come back for more. This means my Fiverr Profile is full of 5-star ratings. So, when I get a review from a client, I rarely expect anything other than a perfect score. It’s a nice feeling, but it’s also the gateway to the enemy of growth—comfort.
Once, you’re comfortable in the knowledge that you will be successful, the fire that motivates you gets a little smaller. So many of our accomplishments grow from a need to prove something. If we have nothing to prove, we’re less likely to grow. I realized that I expect 5-star ratings and am surprised if I get one that differs.”4-stars? What the hell?” What I remind myself is that creativity is born from a desire to create, not a sense of entitlement to an end result. Don’t slow your growth by limiting your actions to your expectations.
Be a Kendrick, Not a Johnny
Warning: ADHD has now entered the chat. Stick with me though, I have a point. It’s 1984, and a young Johnny Lawrence has his sights set on winning The All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament. He knows he has it in the bag. That is until a nobody by the name of Daniel LaRusso smashes his dreams with a crane kick. Yes, that’s the plot of Karate Kid, but I still think it’s relevant here. Johnny thought he was entitled to the win. His overconfidence got him.
So, don’t be a Johnny. Instead, I recommend being more like 17-time Grammy Award-winning artist Kendrick Lamar. In addition to winning an insane number of Grammys and BET awards, he won a Pulitzer Prize and continues to make truckloads of money as an artist. Still, he urges us to “be humble.”
Hey, if you got something out of this post or if you’re just mad that I took a minute of your time to recap Karate Kid and discuss the career of Kendrick Lamar, let me know in the comments.