Last week The Today Show aired an interview with Brian Williams, former anchor of NBC News who confessed to embellishing experiences as a result (in his words) of "ego". You can read the story here.
Like him or not, it's easy to see how the slippery slope of ego can take down even the best of us. It usually starts out innocently enough, ego whispers in our ear, "Make it sound good. People like interesting stories," so we embellish or enhance the facts. Without regulation, and if no one calls you out on it, ego continues on it's quest.
It makes us feel strong and powerful. It works to hide our weaknesses and only emphasize strengths. Completely unchecked it leads us down a path of deception and control. Ego convinces us we can do anything. It's intoxicating to believe that we can create our own reality and that we are invincible.
It happens to business leaders. It happens to political leaders. It happens to religious leaders.
And it can happen to you.
Let's say for a moment that all those things Brian claimed did in fact happen. Just by him touting and bragging about them, that's ego right there. But boasting about things that didn't happen, that is super sized ego.
How do you avoid an out of control ego?
Keep yourself grounded and humble by always having an honest critic to keep you accountable. Many people along the way probably knew that Brian wasn't telling the whole truth. But either he had no one in his circle that gave him the feedback and alerted him to the risk he was taking, or they did warn him and he ignored it because he believed that no matter what, he would be able to get away with it.
Keep the frenemy of ego in check my friends. Use your EQ.