Ego is a requirement of entrepreneurship, but it can also be an obstacle. Let’s go back to the recession of 2007/2008, where Eliot recounts some of his personal failings for us, so we can learn from his mistakes.
Why is that important for business?
Hope and optimism are necessary attributes of an entrepreneur; so is a healthy dose of ego. But they can also be dangerous. When you need to make tough decisions, all of these traits – assets though they might be – can become obstacles. Especially if you feel like the tough decisions are a result of your own personal failings, like layoffs when business is down. It can feel like you have fallen down, but the whole team gets a skinned knee.
Entrepreneurs often wait to really look at how bad something is. But if we look early, if we ask for help and get clarity sooner, we can often avoid the worst of the pain. We can sometimes soften the landing for some of the people affected; we can give longer runways to find another job. But it can be hard not to fall into the trap of The Object Permanence Rule of Business: if don’t look at it, it doesn’t exist.
By trying to avoid looking like a personal failure, we often make mistakes that make the situation worse.
Ego has to be there for you to be a driven entrepreneur, yet it gets in the way of getting help sometimes. Leading inherently requires making decisions about things that are uncertain. There is no true rule book to follow. There is a whole list of attributes you need to be able to navigate this world of leadership and entrepreneurship, and every single one of them has a nasty underbelly. You need to learn to manage that underbelly and understand the stereo equalizer about how much of these traits is required, and when (and who) you need to mitigate and compensate for them.
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