Today I’m talking about the EGO (dun dun duuun).
For many years of my life, even today, I’ve been curious about the ego, specifically – why do we have one? What drives it? How can one be humble, but use your ego at the same time?
For a long time I used to think ego was separate from humility, but now I know they’re two sides of the same coin. I know that to have a successful life and business you need a healthy ego (it’s definitely been true in my life). Not an overrun ego. Not an out of control ego.
In order to be an entrepreneur, to live an unconventional life and pursue the calling of your heart and soul, from the universe, you must have an ego. Because the traits that come along with it are confidence, belief in yourself and your abilities, and self-love. These are your weapons and tools on the battlefield of life. Once you explore the spectrum of what your tools can do for you, then you refine and understand them and yourself better.
Watch today’s video to see how my ego helped me create my ideal life and allowed me to do meaningful, amazing things. Then in the next video, I’ll show you how I mess it all up when my ego got out of control and got me into more trouble than I’d like to admit! But you can learn from me and the opposite side of the coin: arrogance, narcissism, lacking compassion or empathy all arise from an untamed ego.
We’ll start with the good stuff first.
Here’s how my ego has helped me pursue and achieve some of my greatest dreams. These are very personal and meaningful to me; yours will be different. What’s important isn’t what’s on the list but the fact that my ego helped me achieve these things powerfully and magically.
1) Working for myself and setting my own hours.
Why? Because I feel like I’m worth it enough to have a calm morning and day devoted just to me and the messages I feel are important. My routine is devoted to what makes me feel strong, which in turn helps me create things that help others feel strong. My meditation, water, inspirational reading, writing ideas, journaling, gratitude. I’m worth it enough to pave my own way, not get a job that doesn’t suit me, or do a morning commute where I lose my precious, most focused morning hours.
2) Revolving my days and weeks around what makes me feel good.
I run a business based on lessons and business/life experiences I’ve had, things that I want to teach, and things that make me feel good. “Isn’t that selfish?” People say, “This is what you run your business on?” Yeah! This is exactly what I run my business on because it BRINGS ME JOY. And the things that bring me joy and how I want to serve others is the only thing worth focusing on! I not only run my business on this principle, I run my life on it. I know – for a fact – that making myself happy helps other people be happy and strong. It’s not a belief anymore, it’s a fact.
3) Writing my own message.
I’ve built a body of work around messages important to me that are juicy enough to spread. It’s what I do. Fulfilling your potential, how to be self reliant and confident, learning how to sell, learning how to have a healthy ego – these are what I believe we ALL NEED TO LEARN to solve our own problems and be happy in life. That’s how I had to learn and live and that’s what I want to spread! To me it’s important enough to devote my entire life to it. Some say that’s egotistical, I’m just lucky enough that I get out of my own way to do it how it should be done sometimes!
4) Having creative control over my life.
I control my time, energy, creativity, who I work with, when I work, what “work” entails. I build in passion and fun and travel and family and learn the lessons I was put on this planet to learn. My time and freedom are the biggest priorities, personally, much more so than the amount of money I have. To be able to control those two things gives me huge satisfaction.
5) Connecting with brilliant people.
I’ve interviewed some amazing people for Fearless Magazine, and have become great friends with them. These are the change-makers in our society and I’m honored to have had the chance to learn from them. Renowned photographers, uber businessman. You can’t hang with people like this when you don’t know your own worth and abilities. It’s hard at first, it’s uncomfortable, but knowing that you’re amazing will get you to your right inspirations. I spent a year with Dr. Bernard Lown, who invented the heart defibrillator and won a Nobel Peace Prize. What?
6) Surrounding myself with incredible friends and mentors.
I have some very well respected friends and mentors in my inner circle. I don’t say this to brag. I’m telling you because these people are no joke and they’ve had a profound impact on my life and in the world. I’m so grateful to call them close friends and mentors. But I was only able to build these relationships because I was confident in myself at my core. Not always on the surface, but at my core that I felt I was worth it enough to even pursue these friendships and opportunities. See what I mean by this in the video here.
7) Speaking the message.
I speak on stage, and have been able to talk about messages that I feel are important to large audiences. I’m totally in my element when I’m speaking and I love it, but you can’t do it if you’re a mouse. You have to have dynamism, which comes from self belief and in part, ego. I feel like I’m a dynamic speaker but guess what – I LOVE IT. And I like feeling good at it and like I have my unique flair. I’m not perfect, I’m definitely quirky and sometimes mess up, but you need to love yourself in this world! If you don’t like your story or believe in yourself, how will anyone else jump on board and believe you if you’re not enthusiastic enough?
8) Working with the best of the best.
I had the guts to only want to work with the best people in their fields. Mark Ostow in Boston. Dr. Lown. Steve McCurry, who photographed the Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic. I called him up and said, “I should work with you. I’ll take your studio to the top.” He did the equivalent of rolling his eyes and said “Who the HELL are you?” (meaning he was at the top of his game and who was I to help him. Anyway I got the job because of my enthusiasm.) I worked with Seth Godin who ultimately became my best and most favorite mentor.
I only wanted to work with the best. Sounds egotistical right? It’s not. I know what level I want to play at so I only want to surround myself with people who play at the same level or higher.
9) Earning what I’m worth.
I’m able to create wealth and earn money without a salary cap because 1) I believe I deserve a non-ceiling way of making a living and 2) I believe I can do it. Even though some moments have been very hard and I’ve had no money, I knew somehow I could get it. That’s ego at it’s best – kicking in when you need to survive. Now I’ve been to the gamut and back, not having any money, making lots of it then losing it, then making it back, to know that part of survival IS your ego kicking in to help you do the work to generate revenue.
10) Believing in MYSELF and carving out my own path.
I’ve believed in myself since I was a kid, though I’ve had many moments of self doubt and fear. But somehow, I’ve had the confidence and guts and have been strong enough to withstand social pressure, family pressure, relationship pressure, career pressure. I haven’t been to war, but sometimes it’s felt like it in my life and you need an ego to withstand some of it – to believe in yourself enough to do what you need to do. I feel freedom, ease, and happiness because it’s on my terms and I feel worth it enough to live that way. Some days are hard, but most days are GREAT.
11) Trusting Myself.
My ego’s helped me develop a strong intuition and to learn how to really trust myself. There’s nothing without that. I find my own answers with the help of the universe.
12) Leading others.
I’m able to feel like and be a leader. To show people how they can solve problems and lead better lives. This in turn has allowed me to mentor others to change their lives and solve their problems. Who am I to do that? Who am I not to do that?
13) Helping those I love.
A healthy ego has allowed me to help my parents, siblings and extended family solve their problems whenever they arise because I’m able to do it for myself. Because I believe in myself and take the time to care about and respect myself, respect my problems, respect what feels good to ME – I can then help them do the same. Many times they don’t want my help!
14) Mastering my message.
I feel like enough of an expert to work with my clients, students in my group program, and to put out my products. No one will learn from you if you don’t believe you’re worth learning from. You need to master your ego so you can own your position as a teacher without shame or guilt or feeling like a fraud. It takes time, but it takes more energy to NOT feel worth it.
15) Producing valuable content and information.
I create videos and content each week that I want people to watch and read. I’ll say it with confidence! If you want confidence and to feel good about yourself, WATCH MY VIDEOS! I don’t have a problem saying it and can own it because they can help. I know they can legitimately help you if you’re going through a hard time. That’s not a bad thing is it? If you had the cure for cancer wouldn’t you tell everyone you loved? In a virtual, universal way I love you. We’re all connected, so why wouldn’t I share my best stuff, how I’ve changed my own life with you? I always will and we should be able to say that clearly and freely, without hesitation.
If people resonate with you, and they really need help don’t be afraid to say what it is you can do for them. You ARE the best.
16) Drawing power from a larger energy.
Your mileage will vary here depending on if you’re spiritual or not. My ego’s allowed me to connect to God and the universe, to receive guidance and help, because I believe I’m a part of the universe. People usually say NOT to have an ego but that’s not true. You need to use your ego coupled WITH the universe to ultimately find success. Use it as your partner in crime and receive all the guidance you need. It comes when you KNOW no matter what people or religion or your mom or the religious books tell you – YOU ARE WORTH GOD’S LOVE AND YOU ARE LOVED. That much I know is true. Facty factoid.
17) Changing, inspiring, creating, leading, helping.
That’s what I want to do in this world. Sure, I also want wealth and money to sustain myself and live a beautiful life and travel, but it starts with the other stuff. It starts with service and creation. And I can’t do an ounce of it without some form of ego.
Your ego is not a bad thing, it’s a beautiful force that needs to be harnessed.
Use it for the right reasons – to pursue your dreams combined with some help from the universe, and you’ll have what you want. You’ll make mistakes along the way, blow up your life (like I’ve done before – I’ll show you the video later this week of how my ego’s worked AGAINST me) but so what. You’ll learn from it.
You NEED your ego to stand out in this world. It’s a lovely thing that makes up who you are. So don’t reject that part of you that wants to speak on stage, that wants to teach and stand up and say “Here I am. Watch me now. Now’s my time.”
That time has arrived. It’s time to own your ego and it’s power. And if you don’t have a healthy ego, it’s time to flex that muscle now and get one.
Watch the video to learn to balance the complexities of your ego and tell me what you think. What has your healthy ego done for you? Let me know how you harness your ego to get the best out of it. Leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Ishita Gupta is the publisher of fear.less magazine. She worked at The Domino Project, runs the Potential Project, and helps people overcome fear and design their best lives. She also consults for authors and businesses on marketing and publishing. You can also follow Ishita on Facebook or Twitter.