I recently read Ryan Holiday's book 'Ego is the Enemy', which I found very thought-provoking. If you're like me, you'd expect to understand the content of the book just by hearing the title, however, according to Ryan, that would be your ego talking.
Listening to all the stories of clients over the past few years, and thinking back over my own personal career challenges, disagreements with colleagues and growth struggles, I was struck by how much of it can relate back to ego being a central component.
When I started my career, I remember being too proud to do jobs that I felt were below me, frustrated with recruiters who didn't give me a second luck and disheartened when I wasn't given a high-status and well-paid job (without deserving it). I'd been to college and I deserved it!... right? Nope, sorry it doesn't work that way.
In the end, I was humbled into taking lower status jobs for small amounts of money, which gave me the opportunity to develop my skills going forward. It felt painful but it was the best thing that could have happened.
The book also prompted me to remember disagreements with a former colleague. He felt what happened was fair, I disagreed and subsequently shut down the communication channels between us (childish eh?), justifying it because I felt I was right (that's the ego talking again). Maybe I was (but looking back - I doubt it), maybe I wasn't, but ego stopped us from progressing with our work and had a terrible effect on our working relationship. It taught me a valuable lesson.
(Later I apologised for this immaturity on my side. He was the bigger man and accepted my apology, but unfortunately, the damage was done). People will not always remember what you say, but they'll remember how you made them feel.