Baby girl let me get all up in your earlobe And if you shut me down you can kill my ego Which is my enemy makes you my amigo So either way you and I are button and needle – K’Naan, I Come Prepared
When I prepare, I’m saying something explicit to myself. I am not good enough yet. This is liberating. It’s moving, motivating and energizing. It’s because I’m insecure.
I really hate being caught unawares. I can remember each failure over the last few years with vivid detail. The frustration and anger, wanting to yell at someone when I’m the one to blame. Each time I make the vow, never again.
There’s always a next time, but they’re getting few and far between. The failures are also less impactful. Preparation is a habit, like all things. Preparation is the easiest way to put my ego away and enter a situation with the mindset to learn.
Why is my ego dangerous?
My ego is what tells me I am an expert. When I’m an expert I talk loudly and often. I don’t listen to the other people in the room. I’m the expert! But those other people may be better prepared. A better prepared amateur is likely to know more, and help me learn. But I’m the expert. I don’t have time for amateurs.
My ego makes me impatient. I want to get out and do something, hastily and quickly, turning a nugget of knowledge into a product or feature. I don’t let the insights transform my thinking.
Most importantly, my ego isn’t me. Preparing separates us.