Ego is a funny thing. It’s a vital part of our drive for success, but when someone starts thinking they’re invincible or above the pack, it’s time for a reality check.
My father used to say, “Don’t let your ego write checks your ass can’t cash.” Yes, it’s colorful, but very true. Ego is a dangerous thing. If left unchecked it will demoralize you, isolate you, and leave you bruised or battered.
An inflated ego can be a huge obstacle in training. Depending on the role a person gives to their ego, it can empower or undermine an environment. Ego has a voracious appetite; the more you feed it, the more it devours. And it can decimate a room.
Don’t confuse confidence with ego. Belief in one’s self is a necessary prerequisite for peak performance. Without this inner belief, we would not be able to stay calm and focused under pressure. The problem arises when we act like we are the best around others, telling anyone who will listen just how awesome we are. We don’t need others to tell us we are great. Everything we need is already inside of us. A better strategy is to leave the gym better than when you walked in. Remember, your focus should be on improving yourself every day.
At all points along the path of our athletic journey we need to remember to check our ego. From the first time we walk into the gym and every day after that. Greater experience, improved strength, and more refined skills do not mean that the ego can be allowed back into the gym. The athlete that is improving the most, in fact, probably needs the most reminding. Are you a team player or a “me” player?
So leave your ego at the door. Better yet, don’t bring it at all. The gym isn’t big enough to hold it.