Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Ego And Self-Esteem | Personal and Practical in Business

This is taken from the Evolutionary Sales course materials. This is no ordinary sales training.

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Self-Esteem. Ego.

There is no greater core component to your degree of success or failure than the evolution, expansion, and strengthening of the above. There are several reasons for this, but as a refresher: there are two aspects to your self-esteem:

1) Self-Efficacy 

and

2) Self-Respect

Or:

1) knowledge of your competence 

and

2) The feeling you are "appropriate to life; deserve a good life”

Or:

1) Value in the marketplace

and

2) Your Divine worth as a settled matter

Or:

1) Practical 

and

2) Personal

Or:

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Evolutionary Thinking on the Evolution of Ego | Expand and Dissolve Rather than "Annihilate"

We have been sold a bill of goods around ego. One that creates internal division and conflict. One that creates internal dissonance. One that creates pain. One that, at its worst, can foster a certain degree of self-hatred. A dis-ownership of the self. A bill of goods that is 2,500 years old in terms of its story around ego, the nature of ego, and the "problem" of ego.

And there is a better way. One that can create the same intended result with a kinder, gentler more self-accepting approach that can accelerate the evolution of the ego through the radical acceptance of expanding the ego, rather than attempting the psychological and spiritual suicide of ego annihilation. 

You can also see some similar themes around ego in the business context, read this article:  Self-Esteem and the Solo-Preneur | Internal vs. External Locus of Responsibility for an even deeper cut, taken from an email I sent a client a couple years ago, read Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter.

Ok...ready? ::: Heh.

A quote from Ken Wilber I posted spawned an in-depth, yet brief—discussion on the nature and evolution of ego, Spiral Dynamics, the Integral community, and related topics, including the difference between cognitive development and actual development ::: the difference being understanding vs emotional response and being, or stated differently ::: one’s “center of gravity”.

The style is conversational, as it was an actual conversation.

Below are excerpted comments in the thread that followed. The order of some of the comments have been changed for continuity of the discussion, and for flow. Some have been deleted for the sake of relevance. If you want to see the full, unedited thread for yourself, you can see that HERE. The edited and streamlined version is below for your reading enjoyment.

The quote that started it all :::

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one. The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego, which simply increases the effort of ego itself.” --Ken Wilber 

Of course, I cannot speak for Ken Wilber—nor will I attempt to.

Simultaneously, I have read and listened to most of his stuff. As a result, I can certainly imagine—to varying degrees of accuracy—what he is speaking to, so I will attempt to translate him.

AND this will be based on my own experience after 19 years of conscious work, clearing, and self-examination and evolution—AND based on my work with over 200 clients one-on-one in my Personal Evolution Program, which lasted [when I used to do that work]  about 7 months--designed to accelerate the evolution of their ego ::: to widen their embrace. To increase their ease. To reduce their fear. To eliminate most of their anger. To increase their esteem for the Self.

So I may be and will be projecting/hallucinating…and it will be accurate—to varying degrees. Your mileage may vary.

So…what is “ego”? Most in popular spiritual and psychological circles will say we must transcend our ego, or worse ::: “annihilate it”. Is this healthy? Is this ecological? Does it suit the ecology of the environment we exist in?

The ecology of the self?

Is “ego what motivates us” as Pi asserts? Perhaps sometimes, yes. perhaps always—sure.

And the question for me becomes, motivates HOW? From what stage? Because, you see, we will be motivated differently from different stages, for different reasons.

For me, ego is essentially the seat of our consciousness. Where it rests and comes from. Not its Source. Its Source is the very kosmos ::: consciousness with a capital C. 

James Reidy suggested as a definition :::

Ego: n. a person's conscious and unconscious beliefs about their own identity. 

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Your Success Equation | Thoughts Action Will | Part 1: Thoughts

Thoughts + Action + Will = Your Dream or Vision Becoming a Reality

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There is much discussion about what it takes to be successful—and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. What it takes to succeed at owning your own business. Or stated differently, what it takes to “manifest” your vision in the world.

And while many people try to emulate personalities, rather than systems—which is a sure-fire way to fail—and there are certainly tangible, unique characteristics that have a Steve Jobs or a Barak Obama, or a _________________  succeed, there are those that want to sum it up to “luck” or “chance” or “connections”. Or “timing”. Or, “that is just them”.

While there is a certain amount of all of those that will aid one in bringing their vision into the world—they only help.

Even without those additional “helpers” we have a huge amount of latitude and control over the degree of our success—and even whether we succeed—or not; and to what degree. And often the successful management of the following aspects can assist those helpers in appearing and happening as if by “magic”. 

There are three components or ingredients to having your vision become a reality

1. Thoughts  2. Action  3. Will [The Will to Carry It Through]

Thoughts 

So many people reduce this to the Law of Attraction only, and worse, want to have you believe you have already earned your success somehow—before you have actually produced anything or taken any action. Essentially before you have produced anything of value to others in the world.

I reject that wholeheartedly.

While the Law of Attraction is critical—and demystifying it equally so—so that you understand not only that it does work, but also why and how—it is not the only way to manage your mind that is critical. There are others seldom talked about.

Because I cover this at length in my Outcome Inevitability audio and I provide my clients and those who are members on the coaches site have access to—and also on the free Evolutionary Sales podcasts on iTunes—and others have done so as well…

Because of that, we will leave that in this writing and go to the meatier subjects :::

Thoughts: The inspired IDEA

You must have an idea. It does not have to be original. However, it must be at the right place in the “curve”. In other words, it has to either be a proven business model but not yet saturated in the market—or it can be new, but the technology and the market must be there to support the idea. AND it must not be on the sloping end of the curve—an idea that is making a lot of money now, but whose course has nearly run out or is about to end.

One of the greatest skills an entrepreneur must have is the ability to accurately perceive where the market is headed. There is no replacement for this skill. It means the difference between great success, failure, or middling success—and likewise great profits, or great losses. And while an entrepreneur knows that “failures” can be the sharpest learning opportunities, they can be costly, and well, let’s face it—less fun 

Thoughts: Deeper Meaning | Purpose

Additionally you must be able to tie it to deeper meaning. You’re not just creating a cool product or service—you are improving the lives of others—and ultimately making the world a better place somehow. You are serving humanity itself in some deep, meaningful way. Even with a small piece of software. Or a coaching offering. Or a new convenience appliance.

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Your Success Equation | Thoughts Action Will | Part 3: Will

Part 1 can be found HERE.  Part 2 can be found HERE.

The final variable in your personal equation for success is Will. The Will To Carry It Through.

Even if your thoughts are aligned, your actions directed appropriately, and all other factors are in alignment and in support of your desired outcomes, if you lack the will to carry it through you will fail. AND you will fail in the worst way—as a result of your lack of will; something entirely under your control and an aspect of your very own making.

To be blunt: a function of your character. 

That’s tough for people to absorb.  They will want to look outside. As if the locus of their responsibility somehow lies outside of themselves. Somehow belongs to another. Somehow it is a matter of circumstance whether they succeed or fail. AND while it is certainly easier to blame outside forces, people, elements, and /or circumstances, there is no power in that. There is no way for you to learn and shift and adjust. You end up hobbling your own growth, development, and professional evolution for this short-term comfort. And you sell out your short-term success and achievement.

Even if it is true, you give all of your power to succeed over to the ghost of blame. The apparition of an outside locus of responsibility.  You lose your ability to adjust to the new information that you are being presented with. 

In addition to that, there are multiple metaphors that speaks to what it takes to succeed often simply being about endurance—about will and the will to “finish the _________ .” the fight goes to the last man standing. The race goes to the runner who simply finishes.  Etc., etc., ad nauseum infinitum.

“The same is true when we begin a marathon race. We may start out with enthusiasm because our energy level is high, but we must then run the race with endurance to reach the finish line. Some race to reach the line in first place, other runners’ motivations may be more personal; their goal is simply to finish.” --Harry Connor Jr

It is that last 2 percent. The will to carry it through despite the obstacles. Most people quit at 98%. Most quit the game just before they are about to win. They lose their commitment to the game in the 4th quarter—and then the underdog produces an upset.

AND there will be obstacles to bringing your IDEA into the world. They will include but are not limited to

  • You think your IDEA is original and you find out it is not. At all.
  • Naysayers
    • People will tell you are crazy or your IDEA won’t work
    • You may be ridiculed in the press [or lied about]
    • Your friends or family may think you’re insane. Sometimes literally. Other times figuratively.
    • Small-minded folk may want to see you fail out of envy or out of shame around their own lack of success, etc. [not “true friends”, in my book, but make your own choices there]
  • You’ll discover platforms or technology you’ve invested in aren’t working as expected or not working at all for the intended purposes that had you invest in them in the first place
  • Distractions in your own life 

If you are to bring your IDEA into the world; if you are to manifest your vision as a reality “in the firmament”, as they say; if you are to bring it from an IDEA to concrete reality, you must let nothing stand in your way. That does not mean to run them over or blast through them—your actions and the way in which you overcome them still must be ecological in this sense ::: they must be “good” in Self, Other and Community, and for the World/Nature. However, you must go over, around, under, and as a last resort, through the obstacles to achieve your goals.

The most important obstacles are distractions. These are entirely under your control. They are the function of a mind that lacks discipline. They include but are certainly not limited to :::

  • People [friends, romance, etc.]
  • Experiences and desires for experiences
  • “Opportunities” that seem like a good idea, but aren't

I could go on and on about how these things can, do, and might distract you, but really there is a solution that covers the bases :::

Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is in alignment with your vision; make sure it serves. Be it a relationship, a lover, a partner in business, collaboration, a financial opportunity, or a new business venture.

Say no to the rest so you can say yes to the best. AND in this case, the “best” means your own, personal vision for what you want to bring into the world.  For your future. You’re your own achievement and satisfaction. For the fulfillment that comes from contributing to the world in a positive way.

For the Good. For the True. And for the Beautiful.

I understand—and have experienced personally—that means you will make tough choices. You will have to say no to very compelling experiences. AND it is critical to your success.

You must have the will to carry it through to success—or to a dignified, rational end—as the only viable option. The only acceptable outcome.

That does not mean to be pig-headed when you are wrong or you are headed down the wrong path or run up against an obstacle. Quite the contrary; it means adjusting with flexibility, fluidity, to new information conditions in service of the outcome. It means having a fixed outcome, but a variable, flexible approach. You may know what you will bring into existence, but the how may have to adjust.

That also means constantly integrating feedback—no matter how harsh it may be or how neutral or how numerical—or frankly, how personal. Some people will attack you personally. Trust me. Ad hominem attacks are all too common. 

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Becoming Attached to [and Disidentifying from] Our Clients' Outcomes

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One of the CLC3 Apprentices recently asked me a very important question.

He asked about the problem of becoming attached to the outcomes of the client--in other words, “what happens if they do not achieve them? What happens if they do not hold up their end of the bargain [doing homework, reading, etc.], and what does that mean about us? How do I avoid this problem—and the discomfort of it all”.

“And what happens if--even worse, they have already paid in advance in full and it becomes clear they are not keeping up with the milestones that are necessary as sign-posts on the way to their destination we call 'goals' or 'outcomes'? What do we do?”

This is an important question and it has a several-part answer. It is important because it comes up for most coaches and practitioners; at some point you really, really want XYZ for the client. Yes, they must be outcomes the client wants [not outcomes you see they "need" but they do not resonate with] but even still, with their outcomes we get emotionally engaged--we care--and we want them to have XYZ really badly.

Part of the challenge is that we are not responsible for the lives of our clients--we can't be. They would get less out of the process if we were; at best, we would actually be inhibiting their growth if we take on that responsibility. They might blame us; they would take less responsibility for creating the life they want and deserve. It could become the coaches "fault" or for some, the coaching [or whatever you call the process] will be just another thing that did not work for them, etc.

And we created that with our attachment.

So the first part of the answer is to make clear to the client--practically--that we are not responsible for their life; that they are. How do we do this? We write it directly into the client-coach agreement that they "are responsible for the results of their life, business, relationship", etc. And given how some people can be when they are making large life-altering decisions, we review the agreement and then we further clarify and have them initial each paragraph while reviewing it with them to make sure we have done our due diligence as a practitioner in making sure they understand the nature of the relationship is one of trusted adviser--nothing more—and that they understand the agreement in full.

That is the practical aspect.

What about the interpersonal aspect? The actual coaching dynamic? Because you see, to complicate matters if you seem attached [that is you start become emotionally attached to their outcomes, you may engage them in a way that has them polarize, dig in, and resist you--and they start to resist you in ways that will not serve the process overall.

Or worse...

Or worse--they do not do their "homework"--whatever that may be or represent--and they are scared to tell you. In the worse cases they may simply go missing in action. Or they become dishonest.

This is simply another reason I am not a "coach" I am a "Guide" and that approach is something I am careful to embody in every interaction--they do not do their "homework" I communicate to them--with a compassionate smile and a shrug--that I want them to get their outcomes. That I care; and I may even ask them how they best want to be supported. How they want to be held accountable--and I have them design the dynamic.

I have found this softer approach--with nothing for them to resist or push back against--is far more effective than any hard-nosed techniques by far.

Finally [and at times most importantly] is our own development as we, as practitioners, continue our path: who we are is not the results we assist clients in achieving [both positive, amazing over-the-top goals as well as "failures". Who we are is not that.

Those are the results we assist them in producing, to be sure, and we are professionally responsible for that, but who we are is that which is experiencing it all. Who we are is that Witness; that locus of awareness. And as we come from that place, we will be even more effective, they will feel more freedom to expand and grow within that gentle, ever-present embrace. From that place, where universal beauty unfolds, we are reminded why we do what we do--for that expansion. And within that expansion a better, more joyous, more beautiful world awaits us all.

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