There’s nothing inherently wrong with ego: We all have one and, in many cases, it serves to as self-protection and even a mechanism for success.
But ego run amok is an ugly thing and works to create just the opposite of success. The difference lies in what is healthy self-esteem and what is unhealthy ego. To be clear, ego isn’t about hustling to be the best agent in the office or about making the most money – rather, it’s the inability to listen to others or perceive that we may not always have the right answers.
We can all train ourselves on simple skills to keep our ego functioning healthily and not destructively.
- Practice gratitude. Many of us get stuck in a pattern of thinking about what we don’t have or how much more we want: More clients, more closings. We may look at our colleagues and wish we have what they do. Fact: Steering your brain and attitude towards the good things in life is a great way to get out of our ego and expand away from what we lack.
- Take responsibility. Ego can tell us we are victims but rarely when something goes wrong, be it a failed transaction or personal argument, is one person solely at fault. Recognizing your own role in a situation is a way to assume control and put to rest negative feelings about another person.
- Ask for help. There’s no other instance in which ego rears its ugly head than when we are at a loss for a solution but fail to ask for support lest we be perceived as weak. In fact, asking others to help us is a fantastic way to build support and teamwork.
- Learn from experience. Something will always go wrong. Whether it is or is not your fault is beside the point. The best thing you can do is focus on the experience and how you can avoid the mistakes that led to it in future transactions. Analyze what you did well and where you can make improvement.
- Patience is a virtue. In our business, there are no quick fixes or magic bullets to success, yet it’s easy to become frustrated and ego-driven when we don’t find immediate success. But, don’t assume your technique is wrong and change tactics. Assuming you are using proven tools of the trade, take a deep breath and continue honing your skills.
There’s no place for unhealthy ego in a business as relationship driven as real estate, for an overactive ego is a sure way to alienate both colleagues and customers. Take a few minutes each day to remember you don’t, and won’t, be the answer to every problem, and you will gain some humility to balance your ego.