What comes to mind when you think of your ego? If you're like most of us, you've probably had a less-than-ideal experience with it. Whether it was your own ego that seemed to get you into trouble (ahem, not accepting help when you needed it) or someone else's you've had to humor or stomach, we rarely hear about them in good context. But the truth is, your ego is key to helping you get ahead in business. Don't believe me? Here's how:
A little bit goes a long way
Finding middle ground is crucial, because while a smidge of ego is helpful, even necessary, too much can be poisonous -- in any situation. In business, it can effect the way your boss or your co-workers interact with you. You don't want to be the person left in the dark about important projects because you pounce on things, take over and then boast about your expertise. But a little extra chutzpah can help you stand up and take on new tasks or lead large projects that other people may be afraid to handle.
It's OK to show off a bit
Being bold is great when you're trying to get that next promotion or a better job. Tooting your own horn can help your boss know exactly what you’ve done for the company. This might rub some people the wrong way, but believe me when I say that sometimes it's hard for managers to know everything employees do. Don't be afraid to point out the classes you take after business hours or the volunteer work you do on the weekends. It’s all viable, important experience that makes you who you are.
Remember when you completed that assignment you were crazy proud of? I love pet projects -- things I can work on, really have fun with and make the most of. That pride of ownership truly makes a difference in how you approach things. Your ego says, “Do a good job. This is all reflecting on you!” It's the same feeling you had when you bought your first car -- the constant cleaning, polishing, Febreezing and making sure it looked pretty. Why? Because it really mattered to you.
Trust your gut
Ego gives us confidence in our own beliefs that, whether good or bad, set us on a clear path. It helps us to ignore the naysayers and the people who don't like our choices. Just because you make an unconventional or risky decision doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one. How many of the greatest leaders, entrepreneurs and icons have stepped out with nothing but their ego and the belief that they can do whatever they set their minds to? It’s ego that turns the can’ts into cans. And it’s ego that gives you to boldness to say, “I’m here. Now stand back, and see what I can do.”