Hassan worked with one of the most talented Program Directors for a consulting operation, who recently moved from the West Coast to Florida. Despite her remarkable CV and high levels of self-awareness, she often found herself in cycles of negative thoughts, self-doubt, and disempowerment. In her session on Mastering Psychology with Hassan, she discovered her own value system, a personal equation to find fulfillment, and discovered that her ego is the friend she has needed all this while. Read more if you want to learn how ego can serve your journey of self-actualization.
How would you react if one of your closest friends walked up to you and said – you have to watch your ego?
If you are like most people, you will be taken aback. You might inquire about what triggered this feedback from someone you care about. Or, you might spiral into an unending cycle of rumination later that night.
What if – the best way to work with that feedback is to – ignore it?
Pop culture has made us believe that ego is this deep-rooted alien power that makes you an unlikeable person in all settings. As your therapist or anyone who studies psychology to understand the human brain would say – ego is a protective behavioral layer that helps you not spiral into questioning yourself on the smallest inconvenience.
But – like most things in life, it has two sides. There is a healthy ego that protects your self-belief. And, there is an unhealthy ego that drives you into delusions of grandeur. Identifying and leaning into a healthy ego can trigger the most transformative experiences in your life – as our Program Director would learn in this post based on her one-on-one session on Mastering Psychology with Hassan.
Why Should You Care About Your Psychology?
If you don’t go into therapy, should you care about your psychology?
Let’s try to answer that differently. Do you care about your performance? If you are reading this – there is a good chance you do.
Now – here is what makes the high performers across the globe stand out among the rest of us – they have the psychological makeup to withstand the challenges of their routine. Read that again.
High performers know how to channel their psychology and affect the other performance areas – physiology, presence, purpose, persuasiveness, and productivity.
You can hack your way into every other area of high performance. But, if you do not use your psychology to your advantage, you are grossly underperforming your true capabilities.
So – if you care about your performance, you should care a lot about your psychology. This was the exact discovery that helped our Program Director for a major consulting corporation find these significant insights in under 70 minutes:
-Her value system can drive immediate action
-The common thought patterns that she sends her in a negative headspace
-One equation that encapsulates “Fulfillment” for her
-Her process to combat unnecessary negative thoughts
Finding a Value System that Works for You
A value system is a term tossed around too much on social media. Every corporate and every public leader has a value system. How do you differentiate the fluff from the real stuff?
Easy – a natural value system drives action. Everything else is just corporate branding at play. Corporate branding might take you the first mile if you want to be a high performer. But – at some point – you will need an accurate value system to inspire action, build momentum, and create a routine for yourself.
Some people flip the script and start with building a routine. The problem with that approach – building a routine before you identify your value system – is that you will still face initial resistance.
Initial resistance is this force that stops you from doing what is important and instead focusing on gratification. Do you know how to overcome initial resistance? By just taking up the task and not putting it down. It is incredibly difficult to do this using raw discipline if you do not have the value system.
Picture it this way – if you have to take your car over a slope, what would you prefer – a fuel tank that can run the engine of your car or your raw motivation to push it over the slope with your bare hands? Your value system is that fuel tank.
One of the most common questions Hassan gets during his sessions on Psychology Mastery is – Hassan, I understand a value system is important. But, I don’t have the time to sit through 60 minutes, read a book, or attend a course to define it.
If that’s you – you will love what’s coming next.
How to Find Your Value System and Care About It?
You can locate your value system if you answer this one question with brutal honesty – how would you define your mindset to someone you are mentoring?
Take a deep breath. Get. Set. Go.
Every statement you have in response to that question – is a reflection of your value system. When you work with a coach/consultant like Hassan, you can drill deeper and find why these statements resonate and how you can build them into a system. But – that is a discussion for some other day 😊
Our Program Director answered this question with a response that she was surprised with:
-Have a sense of urgency.
-Have a do-or-die mindset.
-Be willing to grow.
And – she came up with all these statements in less than 60 seconds. What does that tell us?
Your subconscious brain already has a good understanding of what works for you. But, sometimes, you get in its way. You get in your way.
Does that sound familiar? It is. If you have ever sat down with your head in your hands and wondered –
-Why did I say that and not that?
-Why did I do it this way?
-Am I an idiot? Am I taking this seriously enough?
-Am I just dreaming these things?
Then, you have stood in your way. And, surprise, surprise – your ego can help you get out of this spiral.
Meet Your Friend – Your Ego
Here is how the American Psychology Association defines ego as –
“The self, particularly the conscious sense of self (Latin, “I”). In its popular and quasi-technical sense, ego refers to all the psychological phenomena and processes related to the self and that comprise the individual’s attitudes, values, and concerns.”
If you are too lazy to read the entire definition, all you have to remember is – The Self. Your ego is yours. Let’s circle back to the beginning of this post – what if your best friend walks up to you and says you need to check your ego?
Should you ignore their feedback? The surprising answer is – yes.
Your ego has a healthy side and an unhealthy side. The healthy side protects your identity – your sense of self. Most of us are driven toward realizing our full potential and being our true selves.
For example, our Program Director, concerned, wanted to be her true self, so she came across as authentic when she was closing deals. She did not want to come across as a sales hack. But, she would often find herself distant from her true self.
This true self is not a very complex term to understand. Do you remember that day when the clothes you wear, the words you choose, and the actions you take – all seem frictionless? You are doing exactly what you want to do. Those days are the best example of your true self.
Now – how do you get to having these days more frequently? You lean into the healthy side of your ego to eliminate self-doubt. The tricky part is – only you can identify when it is the healthy side of your ego and when it is the bloated side of your ego.
The negative and bloated side of your ego stems from insecurities. You know you need more work on this part of your life, but you are too scared to face reality. So, your ego comes into play and tries to protect your existing self – making you act like an unsociable person.
One Controversial Step for High-Value Relationships with Yourself, Partners, and Clients
If you think talking about ego is controversial – wait till you read this.
Here is something even more controversial – massage the ego. When you feel like the negative chatter is taking over your head, massage your ego. A massaged ego does not stand in your way and protects you from negative self-talk.
And this idea has very practical implications. You are not trying to become a superhero in your head. You are muting the negative voice in your head so you can focus on the business.
The theme of massaging the ego will also emerge when you talk to high-value clients – people who control millions and sometimes billions of dollars in budgets. You begin the conversation by massaging their ego. These are people who have dealt with years of positive reinforcement. You are just piggy-banking off of that habit.
Once you massage their ego, you can understand their needs, problems, and motivations in a healthier space. This is where you can focus on being a better listener. Not a good or a great listener. Just a better listener than you were yesterday.
The question is – how do you do this daily?
How Do You Channel Ego for Happiness and Confidence?
We all value one-off moments of happiness and confidence. But, how do you make them more consistent – much like the days when you feel like your true self?
What if – there was an equation to put all of this together?
Well – there is.
(Faith + True Self) / Unhealthy Ego = Fulfilment
Bookmark this. Write it down. Print it on a poster and stick it to your office wall. Or, remember it, sleep on it, and come back a few days later to read the rest of the post. If there is one thought you can walk away with after reading this post – this is it.
Let’s unpack each element in that equation:
Faith: This is your belief in yourself. On some days – you just need more confidence in your skills, experience, and narrative. You can develop this by having an anchoring memory – when was the last time you dealt with a challenge and got results you were impressed with? Journal those “personal case studies” and use them at the exact moment when you start seeing the negative thoughts coming through.
Authentic Self: The process of being your true self begins with identifying your true self. One of the most common traits of being your authentic self more frequently – is leaning on your value system. The 60 seconds you spend unapologetically identifying your value system can guide your journey towards your true self for years to come.
Unhealthy Ego: This is the side of your ego that comes from insecurity. The more attention you give to your unhealthy ego, the lesser fulfilled you will be. Even if you are focused on your healthy ego, you must take a reality check and find the objective facts about your performance. These facts will help you learn whether you have crossed the territory of a healthy ego and reached an unhealthy one. On most days – you will know when this happens if you know the areas of your life where you have to put in more work.
As you work on these three elements, you will notice an overarching theme – you have to develop the skill to:
Self-Awareness: Learn how to identify your emotions and label them. Do this with your journal, calendar, or personal diary.
Take account of the truth: Hold yourself accountable. This might be the toughest of all the skills on this list – but it is essential.
Rewire your thought pattern: For every unnecessary negative thought, you need a counterbalancing positive affirmation. This will make you receptive to feedback that helps you grow without spiraling into constant self-doubt.
Don’t worry if these skills sound like – a lot of work. They are. And the reward is – a closer relationship with your true self, more faith in your skills, and a healthy measure of your ego. These results are worth the work you put in.
Many agency owners, entrepreneurs with ADHD, and even corporate leaders have a tough time developing these skills. That is why they work with Hassan Bash.
Before starting her sessions with Hassan Bash, the Program Director was facing many challenges – she was moving to a new state, looking for a new place, making up her mind about a new job, being skeptical of her chosen online courses, and had a lot of friction in relationships she cared about.
By the time she reached her final session with Hassan – she had settled in her new job, found a place she could call home, and made progress in making the relationships she cared about more meaningful for her loved ones.
People often assume that high performance is just about profits. It has to do with every single dimension of your life – your performance, your business, and your relationships.
Your ego has a healthy and unhealthy side. You are the only person who can identify it.
Take account of the objective reality and see if you are using the unhealthy side of your ego.
Bonus – Build your growth curriculum. Understand the areas where you have maximum growth potential. And be honest about your progress in these areas.
As you start working on these areas of growth – you will discover that you do not have the necessary skills, tools, and frameworks to get to the next level. You build your curriculum of courses, books, learnings, and workshops. Understand the gap between your current self and future self – and invest in the resources that will help you get to the future self.
Block daily, weekly, and monthly time for growth. When you start investing in yourself, you will see that daily activity might come your way. If they are not meaningful to you – you have to let them go. To do this – block time off on your calendar on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis.
If you go out of schedule a day or two – it is Ok. Focus on the monthly theme and put in the work to get back on track. That is all it takes to stick to your vision of your true self.
Trust the process. You will witness “avoidance” when you start investing in your growth. The process of working on yourself is complicated. The unhealthy side of your ego is challenged every day – because you are learning something new and changing. Your unhealthy ego will stand in your way.
You can get rid of it by massaging your healthy side. Focus on your wins and the healthy side of your ego. You will notice that the unhealthy side starts muting itself. This is how you can practice the phenomenon – Trust the process.
Ego Massage + Better Listening = High-Value Relationships. If you want to win those major accounts, learning how to massage the healthy side of one’s ego will help you cultivate good conversations and radiate confidence. The other side is – better listening. Listen to learn, not to speak.