I’m sat in Edinburgh airport having just had an update on a company that I was briefly involved with a while back. The company is falling apart and its survival is in the balance. It has:
Investment, Technology, Markets, Expertise, Experience, Prospects, Good People…
Basically everything it needs to succeed. And yet it may not. Why?
The reason is quite simply ego. The shareholders, chairman and chief exec are all at war with each other. They have seen eye-to-eye on much, but disagree on some important issues and cannot – will not – find any accommodation, compromise, or entertain a meeting of minds. The deafening mantra behind all their communication is:
I’M RIGHT – YOU’RE WRONG
And when your identity is invested in knowing what you are talking about, being successful, being the expert and being right, when that is challenged it generates an existential crisis. Your very being is threatened. So you fight and you fight for your life to protect the priceless, sacred ideas that you hold about yourself. It’s a nasty business.
The good news is that none of it is real. All of this is ego – just an accretion of vapid thoughts and feelings that we have about ourselves. It has no substance and no actual reality. But it can cause havoc in our relationships in direct proportion to the degree to which we identify with it. It is, without doubt, the biggest barrier that any of us have to fulfilling our true potential.
The irony is that in protecting itself, the ego destroys communication, relationships and even businesses – and for what? The privilege of being seen to be right.
Now come on… you know I’m right.