“Pride comes before a fall.”
This saying from the biblical Proverbs 16:18, as a stern warning to not allow arrogance or overconfidence lead to your destruction.
In a recent discussion with one of my clients, we were talking about some of her motivations for expanding her business. As I listened to her talk, it bothered me that none of it had to do with serving more clients, creating more job opportunities, or developing a brand that supported anyone but her. When we started to dig deeper into why and when she developed this new desire to forge ahead, she indicated that she was feeling down because of all the people in her industry that were so successful on their social media, and she wasn’t. Ahh, the fragile ego finally shows its true form.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I too struggle with the social media comparisons. Recently when I was researching for this article, I came across this hilarious piece from RXM Creative about a mock product that creates a visual representation of how inflated/deflated our egos are, based on the engagement that we get on social media.
Check it out here.
Part of being successful in business is understanding how to navigate the competitive landscape. But there is added pressure when you are constantly comparing other businesses or professionals experiencing success to your own. Problems can then really start when the need for accomplishment or personal recognition clouds your judgment or negatively impacts your organization. It’s not always social media that can steer you wrong, but in the end, when you allow pride and ego to impact your decision-making, you’re headed for trouble. Here are a few examples of ways pride shows up in business:
Pride + Leadership =
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
It’s true that with calculated risk, your organization can experience great rewards. When you are leaning on your accomplishments to fill voids or boost your self-esteem, you are going to run into major problems in your organization. When ego and pride are running the show, the decisions are often based on emotions, which may change rapidly from moment to moment.
If you find yourself making emotionally charged decisions in your organization, you may need to take a step back and revisit your vision. If you make leadership decisions based on a focused vision, you’re less likely to get caught in an emotional sand trap. By always focusing on your long-term outcomes and goals, the short-term pleasures may not have the same appeal. If you haven’t already, make sure you download the free Vision Tree Planning Tool that I created.
Pride + Resources =
“By putting the employee first, the customer effectively comes first by default, and in the end, the shareholder comes first by default as well.” – Richard BransonRead
When I refer to resources, I’m referring to all the resources that leaders have at their fingertips, but the most important one to consider is always the human resources. Even if you are an entrepreneur and work mostly alone, you’ll still need to deal with other people in various aspects of your business. If you do employ others, it’s crucial to your success and theirs, to stay away from ego-driven management. This can show up as favoritism, unequal pay, and a lack of recognition. If your ego and pride do not allow you to have a balanced and empathetic view of your workforce, then you should really reconsider if you are in the right position.
One of the advantages to having a well-communicated vision is organizational agreement. If your staff and partners are on board with where the company is going and understand their personal role as part of the greater plan, you will find a more motivated staff. You also need to make sure you are looking at your employees and partners from a very balanced view when it comes to things like recognition and compensation. The quickest way to discourage a team is to make them feel like their efforts don’t mean anything.
Pride + Priorities =
“Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities ” – Myles Monroe
Pride will often have you on the pursuit of unicorns and fairies if you don’t watch it! As an entrepreneur especially, learning to prioritize effectively is one of the most important skills you can learn. When you allow pride to drive your priorities, you’ll start chasing the louder, flashier, and sexier pursuits, instead of the things that will actually make an impact on your business.
One of the biggest shifts I experienced as an entrepreneur, is understanding that my definition of success changes as life for me changes. When I started my business, coming from a great job in the corporate world, I focused heavily on the amount of money that I made. I felt like I was lingering in a season of failure because I wasn’t bringing in the same amount that I used to. But truth is, as a single mother, my priority is being able to have a hand in my son’s life. Once I recreated my vision based on my new normal, I found that I was right on track.
Pride + Brand =
“A lot of people use social media to share mundane things or for self-glorification. I try to use it to share interesting things with people.” – Ashton Kutcher
Your brand represents you. Whether you are dealing with direct or indirect interactions, you have control over how you are represented.
To bring this topic full story, it’s important to be cautious about allowing pride to drive your social media behavior. Social media is one of the areas that you can have the most direct impact on your brand. Whether you are focusing on your personal brand or your professional brand, it is easy to start to use social media as a place to do things that you wouldn’t normally do in public. The safety of the internet allows people to hide behind their computer and create posts. Some people tend to only highlight their achievements, while others use their platform to base others. The temptation of being the best can sometimes prompt people to look the best. Stay away from the “fake it until you make it” mentality.
Social media gives people, that normally would go unnoticed, a platform and a voice. Many people use social media in different ways. No matter how you decide to use it, make sure you are being intentional about it. If you are creating a personal brand, make sure you are posting things that are a great representative of who you are. Focus on creating shareable content, connecting with your followers, and providing good information. Stay away from bragging, insulting, and comparing yourself to everyone else. How people receive your messages has nothing to do with you, but be diligent about creating a consistent story about who you are and what you stand for. Remember to keep authenticity and integrity at the top of your list, no matter how or where you are representing yourself or your company.
Being proud of your accomplishments and your achievements are normal. Allowing your ego to manage your life will create problems for you. Make sure to check your motives often, to make sure you focus on your vision and moving toward your desired business outcomes.