When To Set Your Ego Aside

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e·go
ˈēɡō/
noun

  1. a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

When people hear the word “ego”, it tends to run negative. Ego isn’t a bad thing. It's the confidence to give you the push to start that side hustle. The passion to work those extra hours. My ego is what kept me going as a photographer all those years ago. Earlier this year I looked at my old photos and they were HORRIBLE. Naive confidence kept me going. If I didn’t listen to my ego seven years ago I couldn’t tell you what I would be doing with my life right now. Developing a healthy sense of ego is important for everyone. But when your ego turns negative, this is the time when it needs to be set aside. 

Clinging on to your negative ego can really shoot yourself in the foot. It can kill your confidence. It can prevent you moving ahead in life because you are second guessing every move you make. It can stop you from going for your business dreams. Sometimes women can have a hard time being front and center in their own businesses, even when they are the face of their brand. As a photographer, I’ve taken photos of all different types of people. There are times when the most confident people turn around and hate the photos I’ve taken of them. I’m usually left wondering what went wrong. In my opinion, they look great and the photos look great. And then I realize that there is nothing technically wrong with the photos, they just don’t like how they look. It doesn’t matter if they actually look fantastic or not. That negative part of the ego is telling them “No. You don’t look good. This is bad. You are bad.”

Here’s a question: how many times have you handed your phone to someone to take a photo of you and you get the phone back and immediately say you don’t like it? Probably more times than you realize. I’ve watched people barely register the photo they’re looking at before they say they don’t like it. We’re training ourselves to not like how we look. We’re feeding into the negative ego. Making it stronger with every limiting comment we have about ourselves. Personally, I don’t like getting my photo taken. Starting this business meant I needed to have my photo taken much more often. I hated going through the photos of myself. I know in the grand scheme of things I did not look bad and the photographer did not do a bad job. My confidence levels weren’t very high and I didn’t feel like my best self. But I told myself to set my ego aside for my business partners and the sake of the business.

Our limiting beliefs can hold us back. That voice in our heads that tells us that we’re not smart, talented, or good-looking enough. No one will buy our product. They won’t attend the workshop. I look horrible in these photos. I should just quit. When that voice pops in your head saying you’re not good enough, I want you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Really question why you feel this way. Ask your trusted friends and advisors for their opinion. If you notice that the only negative reactions are coming from you, maybe it’s time to check that negative ego and set it aside.