Your ego is the image you have of yourself and how important you are. For many people, this part of their being can get out of control really quickly. The biggest way to fuel someone’s ego is through the very subject that we are all so addicted to on this site; success.
When you become successful at something you have two choices; to be humble and grateful for the opportunity you have been given, or to let it get to your head and allow your ego to take over. With any level of success, there is always a small amount of luck needed along with heaps of skill, hard work, and patience.
The tipping point for a lot of success is just a small dose of luck, but this ingredient can quickly turn against you when you add ego with it. Egotistic people are not able to sustain luck because the energy they put out into the world doesn’t attract anything of value in return.
The 9 things you need to remember so your ego doesn’t decimate your success are:
1. It’s not a good idea to talk down to people
When a person’s ego is out of control, they begin to feel superior to their fellow human beings. This idea can become like a virus and it will create the disease of “talking down to people.” It’s never okay to talk down to someone and act as if you are better than them.
By doing so, you’re showing that you lack life experience and wisdom. It’s not about being better than everyone else it’s about being able to give something to the world that no one else can do. Leaders come up with solutions; egotistically driven people use brute force.
2. As quick as you can make a million dollars you can lose it all
The whole reason I am writing this article is because of a business encounter that happened in my own life a few weeks ago. Someone that I consider to be a friend made over a million dollars and everyone around them was very supportive of their success.
Within a matter of weeks, this person has gone from being a humble businessperson, to an ego driven maniac. Out of nowhere, they are treating all the people that helped make them a millionaire like they are better than them on every level.
Because they are the leader of the business that made them a millionaire, their toxic ego has flowed through the company and made everyone high on the fumes. Suddenly, quiet, timid, business leaders, have begun talking over the top of people and swearing unnecessarily.
What it most disappointing about this situation is that this person has lost it all before. Losing everything is supposed to make you wiser and give you the skills to succeed. By not getting the lesson the first time, this new ego fuelled state has the power to bring them down. In business, when you let your ego get out of control, you take unnecessary risks and think you’re invincible.
“An inflated ego can cloud your judgement and make you think you have super powers that you don’t”
I’m sorry to report, but no one gives a damn how much money you’ve made or what car you drive. People care about how you treat others when you become successful, and more importantly, the type of person you become. Do you give money to charity? Do you start your own charity? Do you coach other people to start a business?
Having been someone that has been in this situation before, the only thing that I repeatedly say is “as quick as you can make a million dollars you can lose it all.” It doesn’t take a lot to bring a business down or for the people you work with to lose confidence in your ability to lead.
If you let your ego take over before you know it, the million bucks is gone, and you’re alone, on the street, consuming large amounts of alcohol, trying to understand what happen to your so-called “success.”
Don’t fall for the ego trap and become conscious of how you treat people. Joel Brown, who owns this website, has millions of followers and more success than most people I know; yet he’s a nice guy and always looking to serve people.
He’s not out there claiming he’s some miracle worker, he’s just getting on with the job of giving everything he has and leaving a legacy that we will all remember. At the heart of it, that’s what success is all about my friends.
3. It’s not cool to play people off against each other
In business, there are often multiple suppliers that you can work with to deliver a product or service. The last thing you want to do is let your ego get in the way, and think that you can treat these people like dirt.
There is one fundamental lesson that you have to understand: businesses talk to each other and when you go out of the way to treat them poorly, the people you hurt all of a sudden want to share their negative experience with their other friends in their network (i.e., the other businesses someone may choose to work with).
Making enemies in business never works out because people do business with people. Even if you have an incredible business, if you let your ego get out of control, people won’t be attracted to work with you. The quickest way to the welfare office is through your ego – don’t let this be you.
4. Manners will stop your ego
All of us can get caught up in our ego sometimes, and that’s okay. What we can do to cure yourself of this fever is to remember your manners. When you’re tempted to act in an egotistic way in front of someone, try being polite instead.
By using your manners, you bring yourself back to caring less about you, and more about the other person. I’ve even found that manners can become a sort of mindfulness trigger that helps me to come back to the moment and not get lost in an anxiety ridden, egotistical states of mind.
I’ve found the fastest way to attract customers and suppliers in business is to treat them well. Treat them with respect and be known as the nice guy. Last week, I had a client I did this with. This client had been more agreeable than I expected. On an email, they asked me if they could slightly change something in a contract and I agreed without hesitation.
I told them how much I liked doing business with them and how I appreciated their willingness to come from a place of gratitude in a sometimes hostile business environment. Sure enough, the business relationship is as strong as it can be.
Manners and the way you treat people matter. Entrepreneurship is not about you; it’s about serving everyone else.
5. Everything is negotiable
By coming from an egotistical state, you automatically rule out a good negotiating position. In the conversation I had with the millionaire mentioned earlier, their ego and bad language automatically put the guard up of every person in the room.
All we wanted to do was escape, and no one had a kind listening ear to hear the person out. Kindness quickly disappears when an inflated ego is present. Rather than let your ego get ahead of you and throw in the used car salesman line of “I can get a better deal elsewhere,” try lowering your ego and asking positive, open-ended questions.
The reality is that everything is negotiable but only when you come from a non-egotistic state. It’s all in the way you ask and how you come across. The amount of times I have been able to negotiate a great deal by asking questions and saying “would it be possible to do it this way,” or “could we try lowering this rate, and removing X Y and Z?”
You’d be surprised what you can achieve when your personality is attractive and not full of the moles of ego. People will bend over backwards to work with someone who doesn’t let success get to their head.
“In any business negotiation, the person with the bigger ego always loses in the long term” – Tim Denning
6. Your ego blocks your ability to listen
The only way you can learn in life is by listening to other people, and then deciding if what they’ve said is something you can learn from. Not all opinions will be positive, but you will never learn if you let your ego get in the way and make you think that you know everything.
You don’t know even 1/1000th of what there is to know in the world, and there is no point pretending you do. Instead, realise how little you know in the scheme of things and be a learner in life. Become adaptable, flexible, nimble and able to adapt to change. Know that there is no right answer and that everyone has an opinion rightly or wrongly.
7. Face into challenges with a mature, calm dimenna, not your ego
A mind that has regularly been meditating is calm and able to come from a place of reason, even in the face of adversity. When a situation gets heated always come back to it after a good night’s sleep – your perspective will be different.
A calm mind notices your ego and stops you from making an idiot of yourself. Often, if you fail to deal with stress or anxiety, the door to your ego get’s left wide open. Having control of your life is all about the control of your mind and thoughts.
Replace disempowering thoughts that tell you you’re better than everyone else, with thoughts of how you can create something spectacular.
“When you start comparing who has the bigger third leg, ego will take over and ruin all the rapport that you had previously”
8. The moment you get nasty, people go out of their way to take you down
Your ego can make you say things you don’t mean. Whenever you become nasty towards other people and make threats, the person on the other side will go out of their way to take you down. We’ve all heard of the concept of a “raving fan.”
When you turn people against you with your ego, you create the opposite effect of a raving fan. Pretty soon, these people will be talking to everyone they come across to tell them about how full of yourself you are. A lot of the so-called bad luck in our life can be directly linked to our inflated ego.
The bottom line is we have to get over ourselves and how good we are. Having said that, don’t mistake what I am saying about your ego for confidence. There is nothing wrong with being confident about what you are doing in life, just don’t confuse confidence with ego otherwise, you’re in trouble.
9. Nice people always win, smart alecs do not
Sustained success in any field comes down to one simple principle, “nice people always win.” Coming across as a smart alec who knows it all will not give you the success you want in years to come. Your ego can create short term massive high’s and long term major lows if you’re not careful.
Look at any well-respected actor and you’ll see that they are humble and genuinely nice people. The more they are like everyone else, the more success they seem to have. The reality is this: people are looking for other people just like them. Once you understand this concept, you can use rapport rather than your ego, to fight conflict in business and in life.
Do you feel your ego is under control? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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