“Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results.” -Ryan Holiday
As an athlete you know how to work hard.
You show up day in and day out. You keep track of your training, nutrition, and recovery. But do all your actions truly align with a deeper goal? The one you say you want to accomplish but still feel hesitant towards? Are you truly on the path to mastery?
In his book Ego is the Enemy, author Ryan Holiday tackles the difficult topic of the place of ego in success. So often we become impatient on our path to success. We get caught up in what is unfair. We want to boast or show off and show the world our best side. All the while neglecting our weakness and avoiding the work truly necessary to get better.
Can you think of a time in the past few weeks when you let ego get the best of you?
In this moment you were probably not taking the best course of action. Not focused on your values, who you want to be, or on taking action toward your goals. This can be problematic if you consistently let ego get the best of you.
Wanting to be the best will make you train hard toward your goals. Thinking you are the best can even have its place. If you are an athlete and need to go into every contest or event with confidence that you can win. But when you begin to act and treat everyone else like you’re the best…well that’s when you start running into problems.
The danger of ego is directly related to the reality distortion field it creates. You have seen examples of this in those who have achieved some levels of success. In business, music, and certainly in sport there are countless men and women who have made fatal blunders due to unruly egos. Often times they think themselves invincible and surround themselves with a team of people who only feed the ego and let it grow out of control.
Compare this to an individual who has their ego in check. By getting out of your head, detaching from the internal dialogue, emotional language, and most importantly outcomes of a situation you will be in a much better place to decide and act.
Winston Churchill says, “facts are better than dreams”. If you can be realistic with your current standing or status it sets you up for true success. You will know where to leverage your strengths, how to attack your weaknesses, and a realistic view of the challenges and competition that could get in your way.
How about in the gym-are you checking your ego when you train?
Working with a coach is one of the best ways to get a reality check. They can hold you accountable when you try to skip the warmup you should be giving more effort toward. They make sure you get deep enough on every rep of your squat.
They’re not just fitness police though. They’ll tell you when it’s time to put more weight on the bar. To tell you exactly the strategy you need to execute in competition. They may not always give you the answer you want, but always the answer that you NEED.