There are two types of people in this world: those who eat humble pie, and those who don’t.
For the folks who represent the latter, this article is for you.
If you’re someone who lives through their ego, meaning, you see everything as a competition, you see others through the eyes of envy, you compare yourself to colleagues who are crushing it, you live your life in fear, and you get a buzz from talking about and proving yourself all the time, you’ll benefit from the actionable steps below. From the bottom of my heart, I want you to become less of an a-hole.
Of course, egos run rampant in all industries, but since I’m immersed in a cutthroat, highly saturated one in soccer and strength and conditioning, it makes sense for me to write a brain dump on this topic.
While a long rant awaits, I want to clarify that this article is 50% me venting and 50% me genuinely wanting to shell out advice.
Truthfully, it makes me cringe to still see fellow strength coaches still living in their egos. People who want to defend themselves. People who want to discount everyone else’s opinion. People who get a dopamine hit from talking about themselves. People who think their methods are the best. People who chase certifications and degrees to have the
alphabet status behind their name. People who connect with influencers, not to genuinely connect, but so they can make a name for themselves.
I see right through all of ya’ll.
And if you’re one of these people, maybe, just maybe you should check in with yourself and get better.
Look, fool. I’ve been in soccer coaching and strength and conditioning for 7 years. And while I started out as an ego-driven moron, who lived through defend-my-honor-and-degrees-and-experience mode, I learned my lesson fast.
Funny enough, as much as I thought being in my ego served me, it ended up screwing me over in the long-run, which is why I want to give advice on how to live more through your heart space.
With that said, an egocentric mindset only leads to terrible things. Destroyed relationships. Loss of respect. Decreased connection. Less collaboration. Stagnant growth. Less personal development. More anxiety. More self-doubt. The list goes on, and on, and on.
The ego has its weird way of making everything in our lives dissipate into meaningless dust.
So I urge you: eat a piece of humble pie for once in your life. Oh, and take action on these 5 ways to get out of your ego:
Allow me to get political for a second: the times when countries collaborated and came together as a joint effort, were the times when evil was defeated.
Allow me to get romantic for a second: the times when your partner supported your pursuits instead of competed to one-up you, were the times when you felt the most connected.
Allow me to get sci-fi for a second: the times when the different races of Middle Earth worked together, were the times when the orcs burned to flames and Frodo was able to destroy the Ring of Power.
Are these references enough for you to collaborate rather than to compete?
Yeah, thought so.
I’ve hammered home this message many times and will throw it in your face again: anything epic in life takes an army.
As an example, I had a female soccer athlete go D1 and start every game as a freshman and become leading goal scorer her first year. While my ego could take all of the credit for her success, it didn’t.
Her success, rather, was a combined effort of her technical and tactical coaches, her loving parents, her own intrinsic motivation, her high school coaches, and so much more.
And me? I was just a small percentage of this magic.
If you get anything from this bullet point, it’s to stop competing and start collaborating. And if you think otherwise, you’re going to go through a cold, useless life alone.
2. Focus on what YOU are doing well.
Another painful thing the ego does is trap you into comparison.
You see others crushing it.
You see colleagues with more clients.
You see people on social media with more followers.
You see blogs performing better than yours.
You see people raking in six figures as you struggle to pay rent.
And do you want to hear something that will bring you solace?
While you’re on planet Earth, there will always be people doing better than you in any aspect of life.
This is the reality.
So the solution? Focus on what you’re doing well in this moment.
What projects are bringing you to life?
What small wins have you had?
What impact have you made so far?
What niche are you owning?
What creative pursuits are warming your soul?
What audience have you helped?
I’m confident you can find a solid answer to all of these questions. In fact, I’m confident you’re killing it just as much as other people.
I truly believe everyone has their own gems to bring into the world, but they don’t know it. So find those gems. They’re in there, I promise.
Oh, and if you find yourself comparing yourself to others, what more can you do to step into your power? What more can you do to focus on your mission, rather than someone else’s?
Comparison is an unproductive pursuit. Focus on your own magic, stay in your own lane, and let the chips fall into place.
3. Realize you’re not that special.
Here’s a tough pill to swallow: as important, needed, and special as you think you are, you’re not.
Sorry to break it to you, but everything matters, until it doesn’t.
And sorry to get morbid on you, but we’re all going to die anyway.
The numbers in your bank account, the PR numbers of your athletes, the amount of teams you train, the number of Likes you get on a photo, the number of followers you have on Twitter, are nothing but a meaningless abyss that fizzle out into the Universe when you die.
It’s the cold, honest truth.
You’re not that special.
And when it comes to friendships and relationships, no one cares about how “urgent” your work is.
This reminds me: I spent 5 hours in a car ride to snowboard with my best girlfriend, and we spent all but 10 minutes talking about our work lives. The rest of the conversation included the state of human consciousness, quantum physics, personal development, love, empathy, and neuroscience.
It’s funny to see people try to “one up” their friends and talk about how busy their work is, or how important they are, when they’re not. True friendships (and colleague collaborations) are an exchange of knowledge and impetus of growth. End of story.
You’re not that special.
4. Return to your “why.”
To segue off of the harshness of the last pointer, instead of paying attention to numbers, identities, labels, and statuses, why the hell are you doing what you’re doing? Actually, no. Who are you?
A deeper meaning exists underneath the surface – a meaning that is empowering, enlightening, and enthralling.
Maybe you want to serve others. Maybe you want to ooze confidence and conviction out of female athletes (I know I do).
Maybe you want to propel others to recognize their strengths.
Maybe you want to inspire others to live life in good health both mentally and physically.
Brett Bartholomew wrote about this in his book Conscious Coaching.
The more coaches can understand the “why” of the careers, the more they can be of service to others in an authentic, genuine way.
It’s easy to get lost in the rat race of training more clients, more teams, and more, more, more. But why the hell are you doing this in the first place?
5. Stop talking about yourself, especially when people don’t ask.
Last I looked, “talking about oneself” is not a trait I look for in others. In fact, it’s the worst trait you can possess.
There have been countless times I’ve been on the phone with strength and conditioning professionals who claimed they want to “collaborate” until it ends up being a conversation when they talk about their achievements, without me asking. For an hour.
Yes, this happens. All. The. Time.
Humans are funny, to that end. They feel they need to prove their worth, defend their honor, and establish their identity (most likely with work pursuits).
But you know what? The more you do this, the more you isolate yourself from others.
Stop. Talking. About. Yourself. No. One. Cares.
I have an idea instead: can you actively listen and move into a conversation that exchanges insights? Can you bounce knowledge gems off of one another? Can you both grow and become better from this exchange?
Just a thought.
Honestly, the more someone talks about themselves without anyone asking just oozes insecurity.
And you know you’re confident in yourself when you can get on the phone with a colleague and share ideas with one another, without defending your experiences and CSCS and FMS and Corrective Exercise certs.
Or you can go to a family holiday party and not talk about yourself, in fact, you’re comfortable with who you are and can sit quietly, and smile with pride alone at the end of the dinner table.
Or you can spend a 5-hour care ride with a best friend without talking about work bullsh*t and trying to compete with her on who has a more life-changing career. In fact, you both marvel in the importance of each others’ careers and acknowledge each others’ contributions to society as unique.
Shout out to my enlightened, divine girl:
If you can transcend ego-driven conversations and actions, then you’ve reached next level, Buddha, spiritual, enlightened status.
It’s funny because there’s irony to all of this: the less you defend and prove yourself, the more you evolve and liberate yourself.
So what do you think?
I hope these pointers help. Because trust me, the more we can escape our defense mechanisms, the more we can establish better connections and relationships for a lifetime.