Ego: The Most Expensive Thing You Own

“Your ego is the most expensive thing you’ll ever own.”

One of the biggest obstacles for success (in life) is ego. I’ve seen too many failed businesses and wrecked relationships due to ego problems.

Small things that could be remedied with a little humility and perspective cost them everything.

And all of us have one. This fact makes us susceptible at any time to get our ego out of whack, take offense and/or get our feelings hurt.

I’m not saying egos are bad. When in check, it gives us the guts and grit to get things done and persist through challenges. Proper ego is self-assurance and constructive stubbornness. These are advantageous qualities for thriving.

But there are always times when we can get things out of alignment and potentially damage important relationships.

Here are four indicators of an unhealthy ego. Learning how to spot these things will save time, money, and most of all, relationships.

1. Me-monster:

I borrowed this term from Brian Regan. If a person’s ego is bloated, they will talk about themselves too much. We’ve all seen that guy that turns every conversation into a story about himself. Healthy egos listen more than they talk. Go here to listen to Brian talk about me-monsters.

2. Resent other peoples’ recognition:

Unhealthy egos hate it when others get the recognition they feel like they deserve. Resentment and hurt is felt instead of congratulations. Healthy egos do the right thing and don’t care who gets the credit.

3. Unteachable:

One of the first signs of a hazardous ego is when people stop learning. When you become unteachable you stop growing and think there is nothing new to learn. Learning is a sign of humility, which is a cornerstone of a properly aligned ego.

4. Critical of others:

De-edifying and criticizing people instead of complementing and encouraging is a sure symptom. Tearing down of others happens because inflated egos like to judge people and their actions. Being secure in one’s identity removes the need to compare oneself to others.

Great relationships hinge upon healthy egos and a successful life requires strong relationships. It’s funny how life has little checks and balances like this to guide us down the right path.

Starting Matters

We talk a lot about finishing without giving starting its due credit.

Starting matters.

A lot.

I’m not talking about the world of minimum viable products (MVP) or getting something shipped so you can learn. Those things are good and super important.

But the truth is, starting right can save you time, relationships, finances, etc.

Let’s look at some simple examples:

- When you put on a shirt and start with buttoning the wrong button, it looks foolish and is quite uncomfortable. Then it costs you time to have to unbutton it and redo what you’ve already done.

- How about when you play music? If you’re playing a song in the key of E and you start in C, it’s going to sound off.

- A plane flying from NYC to London that starts off course may well miss the entire United Kingdom, costing time, money and credibility.

There are countless examples of these, some with more dire consequences than others, but you get the idea.

Being a dad has brought to surface the importance of starting more than ever. It’s my responsibility how my children start. One day they will leave and have families, careers and lives of their own. Sure, they will make their own decisions and destinies, but the worldview and thought process from which they make their place in the world will be influenced by how they start. And how I start them.

This isn’t a parenting post. This applies to all of us. We all start things. Let’s do so knowing that how we start will influence our finish.

Movie Lessons: Ira Glass Teaches Us To Fight Through The Gap

I’ve seen Ira Glass’ YouTube interview on storytelling several times. I was thrilled when I ran across this video clip about the GAP on Vimeo.

Here’s the thing. When we set out to do something well, it takes time. There’s this period of testing. Seth Godin calls it the Dip. Other folks may call it something else. I tend to think of it as a valley. What Ira reminded me in this is that there is value in the valley.

 It’s in the valley where we learn.

It’s in the valley that we build endurance and strength. It’s also the place where many people get stuck and lost (You never hear about explorers who get lost or perish on the peaks of mountains do you?).  But we have to fight through and make it past the gap, through the valley, to the other side.

And on the other side is reward.

THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.

 

Lighting Up The Dark

A few weeks ago, I alluded to a new project I’m launching soon. A lot of pieces are falling into place, and as we get closer to shipping, the battle against fear grows stronger.

I’d like to share with you a picture about fear that I was given recently. I’m not sure what journeys you’ve set out to embark on this year, but I hope this will encourage you like it has me.

The Dark

Fear is like an endless darkness looking to devour all hope and ambition. It’s a black hole in our mind. It’s the invisible enemy who doesn’t whisper but rather screams at you. Fear tells you “you can’t” and “you shouldn’t.”

The Fight

You must fight it with the flame of courage. Using bravery and action as fire and oxygen, you send it retreating back into the void. It’s a darkness with no real power or influence unless we surrender it. But it’s there pushing against the light, looking for space to inhabit and dreams to steal. And so the fight wages on, everyday.

The Prize

On the other side of fear is the reward. It’s knowing you’ve won regardless of the outcome because the prize is having done what most won’t. You’ve pressed in when others let up.

You will not win every battle because you dare greatly. However, with each victory you will gain more ground. The light will get brighter and more luminescent. This is overcoming. This is becoming great.

Motion

Trust only motion
It’s time to run
Let’s give to the chase
The past is a notion
We need to erase

 

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What Teams Need

In a few weeks I’ll be launching a new project that’s far different from anything I’ve done to date. To be completely honest, it might not work. But that’s the risk you take when you’re daring to be great.

So far the process has been fun and rewarding because of the team that’s assembled to get this baby off the ground. Even though we’ve not yet pressed “go,” everyone has filled roles and worked diligently to give us the best start possible.

Teams are fascinating to me.

I’ve been a part of many teams through the years, both in sports and in business. I don’t claim to be an expert in startup-team-building (yet), but I’ve learned a few things while leading teams in successful product launches, marketing campaigns and even a National Championship. Of course, I’ve also been the lead on ventures that failed too. Looking back now, those experiences provided the most education.

Teams that win do so for various reasons, be it talent, culture, coaching, work ethic, etc. However, I’ve observed that winning teams need to possess the following three elements:

1. Everyone needs a wingman

Successful teams from every arena have an experienced veteran who brings out the best in his/her teammates. Like Goose to Maverick, Sam to Frodo, Bean to Ender or Chewy to Solo, wingmen(or wingwomen) stand in the gap and always have your back. They’re smart, skilled and above all, loyal. They’re able to transfer confidence to the team and to you when it’s needed most.

2. Create a “have fun and win” atmosphere

Atmosphere is an invisible force that lifts or crushes a team. In my experience, it’s always better keep it serious-fun. This means we take our work seriously, but not ourselves. This promotes personal responsibility and having fun. If the atmosphere is right, a team will achieve peak performance.

3. Unity

Inspiration, energy and collective responsibility are just a few of the products of unity. A team acting as one is always more powerful than a group of individuals. Of the three elements mentioned here, this one is the most important. If unity is present, the other two take care of themselves. Think about a fist. Five fingers held tightly together are stronger and more effective than five fingers stretched out separately.

Every team is different.

All this said, one thing to remember is all teams are different. There is no cookie-cutter approach to team building that will work 100% of the time. However, these three “needs” have met in every winning team I’ve played on or worked with.

As I move forward with the team assembled for my new project, it is exciting to see things start to shape up. There’s a wingman or two, we’re having fun and are unified around a purpose. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Top Three Lists for 2013

Goodbye 2013(almost)!  Time for another year-end recap.

As 2014 comes in like a Mavericks wave, paddle hard and catch a big one. If I can help, drop me a line.

Without further ado, here’s my list of top threes(in no particular order).

Top 3 davidhorne.me  posts of 2013:

My top 3 Albums of 2013:

My top 3 Podcasts of 2013:

My top 3 new (or new to me) blogs of 2013:

My top 3 books of 2013:

These Days – Jack Cheng
Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
Decisive – Heath Bros

Please feel free to add your lists in the comments. See you in 2014!