In this month’s series, we are exploring five of the most common roadblocks that get in the way of listening to and acting on your intuition in business. Each week will reveal another common obstacle.
This week is our fifth and final obstacle that we are focusing on: ego. The term ego is used in many different contexts and is defined here simply as your self-image or self-concept. In other words, it’s the story you tell yourself about yourself. We all have an internalized concept of who we are based on a lifetime of conditioning from family, culture, religion, and society—all aspects that form your core identity of self.
Ego in itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it is the organizing principle that helps you function in the world and understand your place in it. Yet your concept of who you are is different than the actual experience of who you are, or how other people experience you.
The problem occurs when you collapse the two and think you are your self-image. What often happens in business or in life is that you are trying to control the narrative of how you are perceived. This is where the ego is working overtime to make sure your self-image is consistent with how you want to be seen.
This can be challenging when you get locked into the idea of what it means to be a leader, manager, or a salesperson. When you are in a position of authority or demonstrating success, then you need to protect and defend this at all costs as any threat to your image can be perceived as self-annihilation. One could argue this is the cause of the majority of conflicts and wars.
Being stuck in a persona of who you think you are or should be is limiting and can feel like an inescapable prison. This type of dynamic harms relationships, as you can’t bring a level of authenticity that’s required for deeper relating.
How Does Ego Get in the Way of Your Intuition?
If you are locked into a concept of who you are and how you should behave, or when you are out just to look good, then you are not free to listen to and act on what you intuitively feel.
You will block out what you sense and feel because this might not align with your social conditioning and programming. Your intuition is not bound by roles, conditions, “shoulds”, obligations, or social norms.
Intuition occurs in the present moment. You get a sudden feeling in the here and now. Even if it’s a premonition about the future. The degree to which you are still reacting from the past about what you find acceptable or of value will directly impact your ability to listen to present day intuition.
Intuition is not about being more comfortable or avoiding the unpleasant. It is about having the courage to say or express what you are feeling from deep within. Intuition threatens our nice little story we have about ourselves. This is great news because we are so much more than we believe we are.
In business as in life, there is a place for the ego and how it helps us organize our reality. The only problem is when we confuse the story we tell about ourselves as absolute truth. Then we need to defend, jostle, get ahead, look good, avoid taking responsibility, and a myriad of behaviors that are only aimed at our self-preservation.
In listening to and acting from our intuitive center, we are able to approach business from a larger perspective that doesn’t just include our own needs, but all stakeholders involved.
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