Handling Ego in Your Business
Miriam Reiss, Business, Career & Personal Coach

As an executive coach, a question I often ask new clients is, "What are you tolerating in your business?" The answers can range from messy garages to relationships that are no longer working. In business, no matter how good we are at managing others, when it comes to managing ourselves, it's human to have blind spots. Telltale signs abound, when we're willing to pay attention. A key component is our ego. Know that egos are not a bad thing; the key here is equilibrium. When our ego is in balance with our personality, our work and life tends to flow. When our ego is running the show, the result is blockage and hampered results.

While it's certainly not easy to admit that we're getting in our own way, the willingness to do so can be transformational. How can you tell if your ego is interfering with your work or business? Look for the following ten telltale signs:

1. You're determined to make things happen a certain way.
There can be a fine line between persistent and stubborn. The distinction is one of control. Using your will to force things through is what we're talking about here.

2. There's a noticeable absence of feedback from others at work.
When people realize you're set in your ways, they will pull away. This may reflect their desire to be polite and gracious in the face of resistance. It's also no fun talking to a wall.

3. The feedback you are receiving is to not do something or to try another approach.
Often, others have distance and neutrality in a situation that we don't have. If you're receiving repeated feedback from others, and that feedback is to back off or find an alternate path, pay attention. That feedback might save you time, energy and money, not to mention saving face and reputation.

4. To give up now feels like defeat. Besides, the other options aren't appealing or forthcoming.
At this stage, it's much like gamblers caught in a losing streak. It's hard to leave the table and sometimes that's the wisest solution.

5. It's costing you to keep doing it your way but some part of you feels compelled to keep going.
Again, think compulsive gambling. Many individuals have run themselves and their companies into the ground with this mindset.

6. Other possibilities are showing up that you wouldn't consider and you disregard them.
Remedies to problems may show up in camouflaged form. If you're set on doing things a certain way, you may not have the flexibility to recognize opportunities that may be cloaked.

7. You feel a certain sense of control, mastery or power the way things are going now.
When our ego is in charge, there's no room for anything or anyone else at the helm. There may be a feeling of adrenaline or "high" associated with this.

8. Other people or things that may ordinarily matter are being neglected.
Families, relationships and health suffer when ego is in control. There's a tendency to work unusually long hours and/or weekends, thinking that more time put in will make things right. This is faulty thinking.

9. You turn down offers of help, believing that help is unnecessary or ineffective.
Ego-driven thinking is that no one can help or do it as well as we can. After awhile, the offers of help invariably vanish, as others see that we are bent on doing it ourself.

10. You're not getting the results you hoped for but you don't know how else to do it.
Do the thing that's hardest to do and is the biggest act of courage: surrender. Bring in the support of someone, be it a coach, consultant or staff resource to help you navigate this subtle saboteur. Do it -- before you lose your staff, the business, yourself, your family and your life.

Copyright, 2007, All rights reserved, Miriam Reiss, 206.545.0809, miriam@spiritedmarketing.com, www.spiritedmarketing.com, 206.545.0809.

Author's Bio: 

Miriam Reiss, Master Business, Career and Personal Coach, is co-author of, "A Guide to Getting It: Branding and Marketing Mastery," and has been featured in publications ranging from the Seattle Times to Good Housekeeping. President of Spirited Marketing, Miriam helps businesses and individuals uncork their power, passion, and purpose through results-driven coaching and training. A business marketing and career transition speaker and executive coach, Miriam's clients have ranged from Microsoft and the Washington State Bar Association to CEO's, cartoonists, and culinary experts. Past President of the International Coach Federation, Puget Sound Chapter, Miriam holds a bachelors degree from Cornell University and masters degrees from Columbia University and Peace Theological Seminary, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. Miriam may be reached at miriam@spiritedmarketing.com, http://www.spiritedmarketing.com , 206.545.0809.