Golden Visions & Associations
Thought of the Week
Your Success Thought for the Week of September 10, 2008

Strong Ego vs. Big Ego

A client recently shared how she and another individual avoided disaster while entering into a potentially confrontational situation: “We both set our egos aside and got to work.” The result was an immediately higher level of mutual respect.

It’s not easy to set your ego aside, or is it? In my years of executive and leadership coaching, I’ve come to know numerous egos well—the good, the bad and the ugly. In fact, I’ve made a study on the topic, separating ego types into two distinct categories--strong and big.

Strong Ego: You likely have a strong ego or you would not be reading this ezine in an effort to become wiser. A strong ego means that you have a strong belief in yourself and your capabilities. This ignites you to do things others wouldn’t have the courage to do, to perform at higher levels because you know that you can. People with strong egos are wise enough to know that there is always something new around the corner to learn, experience or discover. They are alive and ready for action.

At their best, those with a strong ego trust themselves to make bold choices and stick with them. They waste no time in second guessing themselves or in making dangerous assumptions. If they have a question, they go to the source. They are highly intuitive, enjoy an active imagination, are often fast thinkers - though not always fast talkers.

Big Ego: On the other hand there are those who have an overinflated or big ego. We all know the type (perhaps we’ve experienced this in ourselves)—individuals (often leaders) who cannot be wrong, who feel that they know it all and are above reproach. You wouldn’t dare to challenge those with an oversized ego for fear of their anger or backlash.

Of the many downsides of this ego type, is that they miss so much in life. They miss healthy feedback from trusted colleagues who don’t want to deal with the aftermath. They miss learning opportunities from those all around them (not simply those above them); they miss close, trusting professional or intimate relationships; and, they miss new experiences, as they are content with the way things are.

Combination Ego’s: Most of us experience a combination of strong and big ego depending on the circumstance. For example, if I am giving a public presentation to a large audience, I may step temporarily into my big ego to display a certain ‘larger than life’ persona. The challenge comes in letting go afterwards as this is not the way I wish to live my life.

My invitation to you this week is to check in with your ego. If you have a strong ego, congratulate yourself. You’ve worked hard to gain this much belief and trust in yourself.

If you’ve slipped into the know-it-all, can’t be wrong, larger-than-life big ego, perhaps it’s time to stand back and ask yourself: “Is this what I truly want? Could my relationships and thus my overall professional/personal experiences improve by gaining a more realistic view of myself and how I treat those around me?” If in doubt, ask for feedback. If you’re not willing to ask for feedback, chances are your ego has gotten a tad overinflated.

Enjoy your discoveries and have an amazing week.


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