We all know that feeling. We’re getting excited about starting a project. We’ve done the research, sketched out how we want to proceed and are generally comfortable with the project. All that needs to be done is the work. Yeah, that’s what you tell yourself anyway. The next thing you know, there is this nagging voice of doubt that seems to come out of nowhere. You pretend you don’t hear it at first. After a while, it becomes clear that it will NOT be ignored. It tells you the idea is stupid, who are you to think you can even try to do it in the first place and various other insults and belittlements that get your mind racing with the “what the hell am I doing this for?” I can’t tell you how many times this happens to me on a regular basis!
Who or what is this voice? It’s your ego or egoic mind. It’s the thing that’s supposed to help keep you safe in your daily activities. It’s responsible for judging a situation and deciding if you should fight or flee. It thinks it has your best interests at heart but that’s not the truth. What’s true is it’s much easier for him/her to stop you from doing anything rather than wasting its time evaluating what’s good and what’s bad. So that constant doubt nagging you is so much easier for them than for it to experience the terror of possibly making a mistake in judgement. Before you know it, you’ve changed or mind or at least delayed enough to please them.
Your Ego Needs You More
Your ego is perfectly happy to stop you from accomplishing anything. They need you to hear them all the time and do what they tell you. It doesn’t work the other way around. Other than protecting you from OBVIOUS peril, you could do without them much easier. Think of all the times you’ve second-guessed yourself or just put the brakes on a project out of fear. Guess who was driving that? You think you totally made the decision on quantifiable criteria but you still know they probably played a big role in your decision. Worse, after you’ve killed the project you beat yourself up about not being strong or smart or decisive enough which the ego loves to hear. The more you doubt yourself, the more in control they feel.
Let me first start by telling you this is not a do it once and it’s done type thing. Most of us will struggle throughout our lives with this egoic mind and the negative self-talk they produce. I believe the best way to start freeing yourself is to see how powerless the ego would be without you. Just imagine taking your ego out of your body and giving it a human form. Really think about this. Do you honestly believe it would EVER be able to accomplish anything on its own? It’s kind of like that friend you’ve been trying to spend less time with because they are nothing but a constant source of negativity. The ego on its own would not be able to even sustain itself. What would it eat? How would it ever decide what was safe or good or tasty or anything? How could it interact outside of your body? How could it honestly decide what to do EVER!
Let that sink in for a bit, would you?
Living With Your Ego
Without you, your ego would be reduced to quivering mass of doubt and fear. It would not be able to accomplish any of the great things you have or will accomplish. It would not be able to form strong associations with other humans. Helping people with your unique knowledge is not something it could even begin to contemplate. It would just be too frozen with the terror of doing the wrong thing, not doing enough or too much or any of the millions of mini decisions you have to make every day as an entrepreneurial human. This should be a source of great inspiration to you.
So, how do you learn to live with your ego? While that is a subject for another whole blog post, let me say how helpful it can be to remain patient with it. Each time it tries to get you to stop creating something awesome or making another connection, remember where it’s working from. It believes its job is to keep you safe by making sure you never expose yourself to any risk whatsoever. Once you can see your ego for what it is, it becomes a lot easier to inhabit the same body and still do great things.
What Say You?
Do you have tactics that have worked for you in dealing with your egoic mind? What is your biggest struggle when it comes to working with it to get things done? I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a comment below and let’s continue the conversation.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with fear and doubt and would like to clean out some mental junk, I suggest downloading the Five Minute Mental Tune-Up. It will help you bring in more of the positive energy around you and release the negative.