I’ve recently completed a 12 week Life Coaching programme with a client, identifying what’s stopping him from taking his career to the next level. We also worked together to create a better work/life balance for him. My client admitted that he’s been putting things off for years and not being honest with himself. He felt that as a man, he should be a strong leader and show no weakness, even though he felt like he was crumbling inside. For years he struggled along in a senior position of a very reputable company and couldn’t remember the last time he jumped out of bed to go to work.
Even though my client had lots of great ideas to develop his career, he never took action to implement them. Having ideas is great, but not taking action is just hallucination. The analogy he used was “he felt like he was on a hamster wheel, moving, but ultimately getting nowhere”. He was in denial for years and it wasn’t until we had some very frank and honest question and answer sessions that he admitted his pride and self ego have stopped him from asking for help in the past. Everyone around him has tried to offer good sound guidance, but his pride has stopped him from taking it. This made him stagnant in his professional life and it has been destructive to his relationship with his wife.
In his words “I’ve been going through the motions at work for over 24 years and thought this is just the way it is. I wouldn’t dream of asking for help because my team would think that I was a weak leader and lose trust in me. Yes, I’ve got the job done but my career isn’t going the way I hoped it would. My marriage is suffering and I don’t know why. In fact, all I’ve been doing is treading water”.
During the sessions with my client we focussed on reality checks and ways to overcome his pride and self ego.
Ways to overcome pride and self ego:
1. Identify the cause. To overcome pride and self ego you have to work out what’s causing it. Ask yourself questions such as “How often do I admit I am wrong?”, “Why do I constantly talk about myself?” or “How often do I feel as if I need to be seen or heard by others, to make me feel good?”.
2. Listen to others. Sometimes you just have to shut up and focus more on listening to those around you. The most helpful advice can come from the person you least expect it too. Remember everyone has something valid to contribute and if you listen, you will learn so much more.
3. Embrace Constructive Criticism. Dump the pride and ask those you trust to be brutally honest with you. Once you hear their thoughts, be honest with yourself and address the areas that you genuinely know need changing. Understand that being open and honest with colleagues or a coach is not a weakness. It actually shows great courage.
4. Admit when you are wrong. This is sometimes very hard to do but the only way to overcome your pride and self ego is to take a deep breath and admit you’ve made a mistake. This helps you take responsibility for your failure and ultimately learn from those mistakes.
Creating an open and honest rapport with my client broke the barriers down and allowed him to express the way he was truly feeling. Admitting and realising that his pride was the one thing that was holding him back was a real revelation to him. Understanding that he can learn something every day from others around him, by putting his pride aside, has seen his career go from strength to strength. He has just been tasked with expanding the business into 2 European countries; a huge step forward. His relationship with his wife has also turned a better corner.
You will never earn respect if you have too much pride or an inflated self ego. To become a better leader, team player and employee you must become less prideful. It’s not easy to change for the better, but when you work at putting your pride to one side, you’ll be amazed at the doors it opens and who’s waiting to teach you something new on the other side.
Make the Change.