Why a Big Ego Isn't Always Bad
Ego gets a bad rap. When someone’s a jerk, we say they’re egotistical. When someone struts too much or is too loud, we joke about their ego not being able to fit in the room.
But is ego really all that bad? Have we gone too far to denounce ego without looking at its positive aspects? The key to a well-lived life is balance, so ego should not be eliminated altogether. Rather, ego needs to be fostered and embraced in a way that can significantly improve your performance and increase your self-confidence. Kept in proper check, ego is something every entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Related: When Ego Is the Enemy
Here are three reasons why your ego is crucial to your success.
Confidence and competence. It is not being egotistical to know you’re good at what you do. Egotistical is when you don’t have the competence and experience to back up your confidence. That kind of ego is worth criticizing. However, it’s equally detrimental to be great at your work but downplay your value.
Developing enough ego to believe in yourself and trust your dedication is crucial to your success. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Sometimes mastering your craft in the entrepreneurial world gives you enough experience to know that you’re great at what you do. Don’t be afraid to embrace that inner ego and confidently say why you and your product are the best.
Leadership requires decisions. Even when leaders’ aren’t sure of themselves, they have the mindset necessary to sacrifice their own insecurities and interests to further the needs of the group. If you have the right kind of ego, you know you’re in charge and know it’s up to you to protect your team and make smart decisions. Sometimes we need a strong leader to say, “this is the way -- let’s go!”
So long as you have the competence and character for good decision-making, your confidence in the mission will require the right amount of ego to inspire others. A fearful or doubting person doesn’t make a good leader. Ego affirms a leader’s ability to take charge. Just keep in mind your ability to check your ego demonstrates good leadership to others.
A little delusion can be good. There’s a saying, “you can’t argue with crazy.” Some of the greatest innovations and advances to the human experience came from some of the “crazy” ones.
Sometimes it’s only with a little added ego that great innovation happens, despite the people who disregard your idea with the ever-prevalent buzzkill phrase, “it can’t be done.” The ability to believe in yourself requires a healthy development of ego to process your surroundings in a way that supports your big vision.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.