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  • An Ego is an Opportunity

    When you hear the word “ego” you automatically get this sensation and tingling feeling down your spine that it’s negative. You may get defensive if someone calls you an egomaniac or says you have a big ego. In our culture there is a negative connotation around this single term. It is associated with all things evil in this world. In this post, I will rationalize the definition of ego and then explain how one of the biggest secrets in personal branding history can help you change your life for the better.

    Definition of “ego”

    • Round 1: An inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others.
    • Round 2: The self, especially as distinct from the world and other selves.
    • Round 3: The division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.
    • Round 4: Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.
    • Final Round: Your consciousness of your own identity.

    Analysis and thoughts

    If you read each definition, the words “identity”, “pride”, “self-esteem”, “distinct” and “superiority” come right at you like a pack of wolves hunting for their prey. From analyzing and re-reading each definition, my primary conclusion is that your ego is your external personal brand that is built internally. What I mean by this is that your ego is your facial expression and personality that is seen by others, but that is ignited from within. Your ego is regulated by your internal passions and energy or lack thereof. Therefore, you have the gift and privilege to share that ego with another individual and be judged based on that experience or impression. If you don’t have “pride” in your personal brand, then I can almost guarantee that some press in your local newspaper or a pat on the back at work wont soothe your wounds or give you purpose in life.

    When you were in high school, there were always bullies that would demoralize you like you were beneath them. People take advantage of others and when that individual doesn’t stand up for themself, they lose pride, self-esteem, and their ego takes a hit. An ego is a state of mind. An ego allows one individual to soar to the top of the ladder and another to take a part-time job at McDonalds. An ego is your best friend and worst enemy. You can use it for good or evil. An ego grants purpose, attitude, values, pride and an identity. Since what you do makes you who you are and how you project that to others makes you memorable, your ego is that projection.

    An ego is an opportunity

    I’ve already started explaining this concept to a few people in the blogosphere, who have embraced it like it was common strategy. One of my biggest learnings and best kept secrets is that if you understand what an ego is, that everyone has one and that you can play to it, you can be extremely successful. People LOVE seeing their face on a magazine, blog, on national television, in a book or heard on the radio. They also enjoy compliments and careful attention paid to their hard work. By feeding this ego wholeheartedly and without asking for something in return, you will get twice as much back and have a strong relationship with that person.

    An ego is an opportunity that costs you nothing these days (It’s 2008 WOW). By interviewing or writing about another individual on the web, the probability that they will reciprocate is quite high (if not now, at a later date). It costs you nothing to promote someone else, their product or even link to their website. The bigger idea behind this is giving before receiving, but servicing an ego is the greatest and cheapest way to accomplish this. This single strategy justifies starting a blog.

    Next time you bite your tongue when you hear the word “ego”, realize that catering to someone’s ego may change your life.

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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