EGO: Drop It or Get Dropped

by Robb Sutton

If there is one consistent character trait that I can honestly say I see in all of my successful friends from big corporate CEO’s to one man show entrepreneurs (in life and business)…it is a simple one.

They are humble.

I see a common occurrence among bloggers. They start up a blog, get a little bit of press, start to grow a following and then all of the sudden…out of the blue…said blogger thinks their shit doesn’t stink! Their writing starts to change. Their interaction with other bloggers turns into “only talking to the elite” and forget that they used to be the small guy on the block (and in some cases…they still are!)

Entrepreneurship Is An Ever Learning Process

When you hit that point in your brain function where you start to think you are better than others, you are forgoing the ability to be teachable. Entrepreneurship is not a race to who knows the most. It is an ever changing, learning process that can flip at the drop of a hat. If you are not teachable, you are going to be left in the dust…and quickly.

Here are a couple of things to remember when dealing in a highly social environment like the blogging world.

  • That blogger you put off as small potatoes and not worth your time…might end up passing you one day. How do you want them to remember you?
  • If you already know everything, do you have any room to grow? I would hate to think that I am so awesome that I am already at the peak of my game.
  • When you were just starting out, how did you feel about those “ego bloggers”? Is that how you want to be remembered?
  • To REALLY GROW YOUR BLOGyou will need the help of others.

There Is A Difference Between EGO and Confidence

As a business owner and blogger, you are going to have to be confident in yourself and your abilities. If you spend your entire career doubting your ideas and processes, you are never going to get anything accomplished and you will never go out on a limb and take some risks. However, this confidence can not translate into an inflated ego.

The moment you cross that line from confidence to ego, you are making the willing decision to not grow your blog any farther than it already has.

An over-inflated ego can be spotted a mile away. When it starts to become transparent in your business activities…you will start to see a decline in traffic and earnings because no one likes to hear someone pat themselves on the back all day long. Of course, the ego driven blogger will put it off and think the rest of the world just doesn’t get it, but the profit producing audience will know and leave.

As I continue with my blogs and business practices, I try to keep one moto true throughout the process.

The day I think I know everything will be the dumbest day of my life.

Stay teachable and continue to help out those around you. By staying humble, planted in the real world and forever teachable…you will be able to grow your corner of the web farther than you would have ever dreamed. If you want to be #1 and awesome…be prepared for disappointment.

17 comments

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17 comments

Thomas Sinfield August 4, 2010 - 6:18 am

This is an important one Robb! I remember when I first started blogging and trying to network with some of the bloggers that were at my current level (who are now some of the ‘pro bloggers’) and not getting anywhere.

That experience continually reminds me that I need to treat all bloggers as I expect to be treated. There is so much talent in some of these new bloggers we’d have to be crazy if we thought at least some of them aren’t going to do more than we do!

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:04 am

That rings true in a lot of things. If you go through life treating others as you would wish to be treated…things start to look up with the atmosphere you are surrounding yourself with.

And you are right…just because they are just starting out…it does not mean they will not hit it big. There is a lot of talent out there right now.

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Nabeel | Create Your First Website August 4, 2010 - 9:12 am

Hi Robb,

An excellent piece of advice. I think it is very important to be humble, always.

Infact, I think helping out others will benefit you in the long run. People like humble people, they are attracted towards them.

Kindest,
Nabeel

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:06 am

No one likes a jackass for sure. It might bring in a lot of traffic to be an angry, ego driven blogger, but that is not going to bring in traffic that is going to be easily monetized.

Building trust is huge in this industry and who do you trust more? Your best friend or the jerk down the street?

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Jimi Jones August 4, 2010 - 9:40 am

Remaining both humble and helpful is an absolute must. Realizing that success can be fleeting and that you may need others to help you recover (or get there in the first place) should be enough to keep one balanced.

All bloggers start at the same place, one post and one reader, so remembering those humble beginnings and those early day experiences are incentives to reach back and help others.

A quick and easy way to become unpopular is to become full of yourself, acting as if you never struggled with the craft. 🙂

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:07 am

“All bloggers start at the same place, one post and one reader.”

So many people forget this!!! Everyone starts at ground zero and that will never change. Successful blogs and entrepreneurs do not just drop from the sky suddenly. They build up their empires over time through hard work and working with others.

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Brandon Winters August 4, 2010 - 10:13 am

Hey Robb, I feel like the ego is the one thing that should be dropped from everything in life! It is the one thing that causes us the most problems and it is always when we stop making it work for us that we see the most harm.

The mind is best at learning and getting creative with the learning. You are right that we only need to let those resulting successes turn into confidence that we are better at learning. As soon as we let our ego remove us from the level playing field thinking that we are better, we lose touch with reality and get passed by.

We no longer learn with others and the sticky/magnetic touch that you developed in the beginning becomes more of a repelling force than anything.

Great post man!

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:08 am

“We no longer learn with others and the sticky/magnetic touch that you developed in the beginning becomes more of a repelling force than anything.”

Absolutely. It is counter intuitive for sure. Just when ego driven bloggers get to the point they think they are awesome, they start getting adverse affects from their efforts.

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Mars Dorian August 4, 2010 - 1:07 pm

You need definitely the help of others !

But a big ego is useful – as long as you can control it.

Normal confidence won’t be enough – you need the absolute conviction that you build yourself a kick-ass digital empire – and a healthy ego will help you with that.

That’s why one should be both – egomaniac, in order to get things going, and humble – because everything you do doesn’t matter in the bigger sense.

It takes practice to balance both 😉

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:11 am

I would have to disagree Mars.

In my experience, egomaniacs end up eventually getting fired or watch their businesses fail over time wondering what the hell happened.

Confidence and conviction in your decisions is independent of having an over inflated ego. I don’t actually believe that you can have a large ego and be humble at the same time. The two are so polarizing that they can not be possessed in conjunction with one another.

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Jean Sarauer August 4, 2010 - 2:52 pm

So true, Robb. I’m seeing a major shift going on in this regard now. People who are humble, have a beginner’s mind, and seek to boost others up, are doing some amazing things. And their influence is spreading far beyond a single niche. Ego is a shell that we think makes us larger but in reality, it traps us and keeps us small.

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:13 am

I am seeing the same trends Jean. Especially with bloggers, those that are grateful and appreciative of the gifts that have been given to them through hard work and dedication are growing by leaps and bounds. Even when you look at the top bloggers in the blogging niche like Darren Rowse or John Chow, they are extremely humble and appreciate the hard work of others.

Those that choose to let the “celebrity” aspect of blogging take over how they treat others are starting to feel the shift with negative impacts.

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El Edwards August 4, 2010 - 4:53 pm

I agree with what you’re saying Rob. The whole ego thing is a massive turn off but I think I might have found a solution. What if we just be ourselves with all the lovely, fun, brilliant but kind and caring stuff that that entails? Do you think that could work?

El

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:14 am

That’s what I try to do!! I have found that the more you just try to be yourself and less what you think others think you should be or act how others think you should act…things just tend to work out better in the long run.

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Sara Brown August 5, 2010 - 3:03 am

Rob this was such a refreshing read as we are the small potato! We are only just sorting our blog strategy and have just relaunched our website on Zambia after 18 months of laying the ground work. Sometimes, as a beginner you do feel completely over run by egotistical do’s and don’ts and overpowering language. I agree with El – how about we all be ourselves? And can I add – why don’t we all work towards adding real, honest value. Doesn’t the rest come? And when it comes why don’t we remember our journey from small potato to big potato and remain humble!

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Robb Sutton August 5, 2010 - 6:16 am

Adding value to people’s businesses and lives is the best way to grow a strong community around your blog. Add some solid promotional techniques and you should be off and running!

I wish it was as easy as “the rest will come”, but there are some other steps in the process to step up and above the rest of the noise that is out there.

Good luck!

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How To | Successful Mindsets from Around the Web | Successful Upstart | Creating Success Online August 5, 2010 - 11:03 am

[…] to show you care about them unconditionally. You will get dropped off the radar if you do not drop your ego first. My words of wisdom here: Don’t act out of ego, always have it working for you. Not the other […]

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