Leadership is Transcending Yourself
By Angel Santiago
“Growth is transcending yourself, your habitual self, which is none other than ego.”
– Lester Levenson
Louis Carter, the founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute and an organizational psychologist and top advisor to C-level executives of Fortune 1000 companies, says the ego is the enemy of good leadership because it distorts your sense of reality. He further states that “leaders with inflated egos struggle to take on constructive feedback. They might also overestimate their abilities while underestimating the skills, efforts, and people required to achieve a goal.” A big ego can lead to a strong confirmation bias – favoring information that confirms our views. The leader’s perspective can become too limited, creating tunnel vision that prevents the leader from seeing how people are actually performing and how their actions might impact others.
According to vocabulary.com, your ego is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider “yourself.” To say someone has a “big ego” is to say they are full of themselves, which is rarely a quality you want to see in a leader.
To become the best version of yourself, you must go through a process of transformation, a self-cleansing, so to speak, also known as transcending the ego. This is key to releasing and letting go of limiting aspects of yourself that, for a long time, have created so much conflict and suffering in your life. When this happens, you’ll start living more from your heart and less from your head.
Heather O’Neill, owner of CryoFit Alamo Heights, is no stranger to this process. She understands that life can be hard for everybody at some point or another, and this process has made it very clear to her how important it is to take time for yourself every day to focus on what you need on a personal level. Because if you don’t, you cannot be there for others. “My understanding of self-leadership is letting go of pride and ego. And to be able to really take an honest, deep dive look at yourself and not be ashamed of what you see, but learn from what you see so you can apply that to what you would consider your new self. Being true to yourself and presenting that true self to others.”
To truly understand and accept yourself, you must let go of any limiting beliefs that have led to your false sense of identity or ego. This process is essential for growth. This transformation process allows you to see yourself more clearly to better understand and accept yourself, with all your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can do something about it. So you can grow. Choosing to grow and improve ourselves is a process we can do on our own through our desire to achieve great things, or we can wait for life to grow us through challenge and difficulty; more often than not, it’s the latter.
I invite you to self-reflect and recognize when your ego is getting in the way of your ability to lead effectively. A great leader is the first to accept their flaws and find a way to turn them into strengths. Great leaders first remove their masks and let their guard down to encourage others to do the same. And those are signs of a healthy ego.