Keeping Your Ego in Check


Everyone has an ego, whether you want to admit it or not. And it’s something each of us needs to check.

In “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, the authors share ego “clouds and disrupts everything.”

“Ego drives the most successful people in life — in the SEAL Teams, in the military, in the business world. They want to win, to be the best. That is good. But when ego clouds our judgment and prevents us from seeing the world as it is, then ego becomes destructive … Many of the disruptive issues that arise within any team can be attributed directly to a problem with ego,” explained the authors.

Although ego may drive success, it can also cause destruction. For example, say one of your Coaches wants to start a barbell club. But it’s not because your membership is necessarily asking for the club. The Coach has several years of experience in Olympic lifting that she wants to put to use. You have to admit, she is an excellent weightlifting Coach. And she knows it, too.

Several issues stem from the barbell club. Your Coach has bumped up her hours of training, costing you money. She also insisted on getting the best bars and weights, assuring you she would have members flocking to the program in no time. Now, the barbell club has been running for six months and only 12 members are involved. Overall, you are losing money on this venture, and your Coach is becoming burned out, which is reflected in the CrossFit classes she teaches.

Ego has had a hand in this dilemma. First, your Coach has ego in her coaching abilities, thinking that expertise would sway members to join. Frankly, it probably has kept members away; she knows how good she is at teaching weightlifting.

You have ego at play here, too. You don’t want to admit you were wrong for investing completely in the barbell club before the numbers proved it would flourish. You did not give a realistic assessment of your Coach’s performance because you were thinking about money and additional revenue streams.

While all good things, you can’t let your own desires get in the way of honest evaluations.

“When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues … We can’t ever think we are too good to fail or that our enemies are not capable, deadly, and eager to exploit our weaknesses. We must never get complacent. This is where controlling the ego is most important,” the authors wrote.

Check your ego today, Affiliate, and instead lead with humility.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at