Ego as the Enemy
I was meeting with a senior person from a large company. I had spent a lot of time preparing for that meeting. Half-way through, the person I was meeting called an abrupt end to the meeting. I was taken aback – I was just two-thirds of my way through the presentation thinking I had much more time. I could have protested then, but I decided not to. I wrapped it up and came out. I was very angry then – How could someone do this to me? Did they not have respect for my time? I felt a rage building up within me.
I then decided to put my ego aside, and think with a calmer mind about the meeting. I had the good fortune to get the time I did. And during that time, the discussion that happened had actually opened up new lines of thinking for the solution I was pitching. I spent more time replaying the meeting, and realised that there were many positives from the interaction. In my initial fury about the curtailment of the meeting, I had almost lost sight of the gains.
Ego is a killer, a disease. We have to learn to set it aside. Anything that hurts us is not an insult that we have to take personally, and therefore respond with equal ferocity. By controlling one’s ego, it becomes possible to spot opportunities and openings that may not have been previously visible. Ego is like a fog that hampers our vision.
By not throwing one’s weight or title around, there is so much more that can be learnt. As an entrepreneur, one should be ready to meet anyone in the organisation to pitch the product to. And every meeting will have some learning. In the past few months, I have done 80+ meetings with marketing and digital heads to pitch my idea of Velvet Rope Marketing. I told my sales team to set up meetings with whomever was willing to listen – without worrying about designation. I go into each meeting with humility – as a student keen to learn about the world of marketing as seen by the people I am meeting. This has helped me refine my ideas through the months, and open up many new angles (linkages to referral marketing and loyalty programmes) which otherwise would have been closed.
Entrepreneurs must set ego aside. In fact, this is true even after one is successful. There is much we do not know about the world. If we go in without ego in meetings, we are more likely to meet more people and learn more things. Over time, by connecting the dots from all those meetings, a new image will appear – enriching our own mental models.
Will be continued soon.