Ego is our enemy preventing us from achieving our ultimate level of success possible. This is a hard lesson I’ve had to learn on more than one occasion.

A number of years ago I entered myself into a public speaking competition. It was an impromptu contest – meaning that each of the contestants did not know what they were going to talk about before they got on the microphone. Each of us were asked the same question and had to give a 2-minute presentation to answer it. I still remember the question to this day – it was “if you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be and why?”

My answer was that I already did have a superpower. My superpower was that I had the ability to launch. When I set out to do a project, I get it done. When I set out to publish something it goes to print. When I commit to something, I accomplish it. And I consider it a superpower because our society has a shortage of people who are able and willing to do the hard work it takes to turn an idea into reality, to launch something. I got a great round of applause and sat down feeling very confident. However I ended up losing the speech contest to someone who said they wishes their superpower was traveling in time or something. I couldn’t tell you one thing about the presentation because it was not that great. Why did I lose then? All the judges were friends with the contestant they selected as the winner. I lose due to nepotism.

But how did I react? I told them that it was bullsh*t, I got up and left and went home. Suppose there was a prospective client in the room, what would they think of my egotistical reaction? Even though I was correct, it did not make my response right.

A number of years later I entered myself into another speech contest – this time it was a humorous speaking contest where we had to give a 5-to-7 minute prepared humorous presentation. I crushed the presentation giving a recount of all the mishaps I’ve had as a struggling single guy for about a decade of my life. However, once again, I lost to someone who was friendlier with the judges than I was. My response this time was to smile, applaud and shake the winner’s hand. How do you feel those in the room felt about me in that instance? Probably a bit better than the other time.

As I said at the top… ego is the enemy we face on our path to success.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto