I was working a valet job less than four years ago. I worked every major holiday, including Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and worked regular graveyard shifts. It was the first time I was employed by someone else and by far the worst experience I’ve had. The fear of ever having to go back to that keeps my ego in check and keeps me motivated. When you’re overly confident, you’re actually the most vulnerable.
—Jake Kassan, CEO, co-founder of MVMT Watches
Setting goals that are often extremely difficult or impossible to reach reminds me that there is constant room for improvement. I have friends who set similar goals and achieve better outcomes, and keeping in touch with them to learn from their successes help me stay grounded.
—Hongwei Liu, CEO, co-founder of mappedin
As an entrepreneur, I feel that it’s important to have a lot of confidence in my ideas, fearlessly putting new ones out there for feedback from my business partner and mentors, as well as from consumer market testing. Probably only about 15 percent of the ideas I put out there actually get executed in their original form. Having something I might feel is absolutely brilliant get nixed or drastically edited (always for good reason!) is a great way to keep any hint of an ego in check.
—Bella Hughes, president, co-founder of Shaka Tea
I think being a mom to two young kids definitely helps keep my ego in check. It doesn’t matter to my children if we generated $20M in annual revenue; they care more about that the ball they threw at me landed squarely on my head. They are constant reminders of my priorities and that there are far more important things than my career accomplishments.
—Candice Lu, co-founder, OnPrem Solution Partners
Everyone has their own particular brand of ego; how it thinks, operates, and what riles it up. If you know yourself and your personal brand, you can easily recognize when it gets triggered, stop it, and talk yourself off the ledge.
—Lauren Zander, co-founder of The Handel Group, author of Maybe It’s You: Cut the Crap. Face Your Fears. Love Your Life.
By reminding myself of the impermanence of it all. It is important to stop and celebrate the victories as well as stop and examine the failures. Neither is permanent and both make you a better person.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.