Surpassing Fear and Ego

I recently discovered Karol Gajda and finding his posts inspiring and motivating (and his honesty refreshing), I wanted to make sure you know of him too.

After reading his essay, Be The Idiot, I felt drawn to comment but soon realized my comment was morphing into something more. Karol asked, "What’s an example of ego getting in your way? And better than that, what’s an example of you dropping your ego and progressing on something quicker than normal?". This post is the result.

I certainly have suffered thinking about what I feared others must think of me. For example, years ago when temping, the more junior the position, the more I felt the need to tell coworkers that I used to be a computer programmer. I defined myself by my job title and cared too much what other people thought of me. I've been there.

This post, however, is about times where I've gotten over a fear of seeming stupid to others or sucking and what I've accomplished as a result. These lessons are personal, but perhaps you may identify with some of them -- if so, please share your stories and insights in the comments.

1) As a student my desire to help my peers outweighed my fears of sucking so I created, for the first time ever, a few how to videos and posted them. Result: a company in California discovered me, liked how I wasn't formal/perfect (boring), and paid me to design a 30+ video course for them--a reminder that Volunteering is Good for You

Action is more important than perfection.  Video recording is like writing -- do it publicly and do it lots and you'll improve

2) Before I graduated, my mentor asked me to guest speak in my program and also suggested I get elected to a group to create a provincial certification. "But I'm just a student with zero experience in this field!", I thought. Result: students ranked my presentation higher than an expert he also had speak. And the group I got elected to highly values my intellect and transferable skills. (And I specifically got elected because I sold my skills rather than focused on my lack of experience/what I couldn't do.)

If I had let fear of seeming stupid rule -- I wouldn't have been able to be myself; they wouldn't have seen my gifts.

3) One of the greatest lessons I had was from working with a fellow student over Skype when she said, "I didn't know you could be so fun". My ego hurt at that but I took the pain and took a closer look. Up until then she had only known me through my writing for school and I learned of the huge discrepancy between how I write versus how I am in real life or on video. As such, I am working hard to try and be more authentically me with my writing.

Don't let ego get in the way of learning something important about yourself.

How have you learned from or in spite of your ego? Please share in the comments.

Image Credit: silviadinatale - ZERO