Editor's Note: College Treps is a weekly column that puts the spotlight on college and graduate school-based entrepreneurs, as they tackle the tough task of starting up and going to school. Follow their daily struggles and this column on Twitter with the hashtag #CollegeTreps.
My professors, mentors and parents are always telling me “you can do anything you set your mind to,” and “don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way.”
Though these encouraging comments help me and my fellow young entrepreneurs reach for the stars, it’s important to not let these words go to your head. We can’t let our desire to achieve world domination interfere with cultivating leadership skills and maintaining a clear perception of ourselves.
This can be hard when interacting with high net-worth individuals and companies. We want the world, but we ourselves are not the world.
Here are five tips for keeping your ego in check:
1. Know when to lead and when to follow. It can be tough to collaborate with others who don’t have a young entrepreneur’s mindset. Being able to look at things with a 360-degree perspective may help improve communication and the overall morale of your work environment. This may be particularly important when giving or receiving constructive criticism. I try to remind myself that every person attending college is a student, and that we are people still learning the ropes of how the world works. If someone has an idea, be quiet and listen to it with 100 percent of your attention.
2. Know the difference between a healthy and destructive ego. There’s a fine line between being self-confident and just simply being an egotistical narcissist. I have personally found out that there is nothing wrong with being proud of certain accomplishments, but at the same time, we should be very humbled about them. Be careful how you portray yourself on social media, too.
3. Read leadership books. Don’t take for granted the knowledge well-experienced entrepreneurs are willing to share. Reading about the past experiences CEOs and executives have encountered in their careers can elevate your awareness of certain issues that may arise within your company and how you can handle them professionally. Having this valuable information in print will be a great resource to use in the future. Right now I’m reading Skills for Success by Jim McGraw:
4. Stay grounded. As part of the millennial generation, we are constantly dreaming of the future and how we can achieve our goals in the most quick and efficient way possible. We want things, and we want them now. With this said, it can be hard to achieve a balanced perspective on our past and what got us to where we are today. Activities such as yoga, meditation, exercise and listening to music, help me reconnect to my roots. Whatever it is that helps you, always remember where you came from and the people who helped you along the way.
5. Volunteer. Even if it’s just once a month, volunteering can be extremely worthwhile and very humbling. Whether it be at a homeless shelter, autism organization, TED conference, summer camp or a local charity event, volunteering can change your life and the values of your company. If you’re highly involved within your city’s entrepreneurship community, consider mentoring someone less experienced.
How do you stay grounded? Share your thoughts here in the comments section.
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The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.