7 Signs That Ego Is In the Way of Your Business Growth

15 min read
Dec 30, 2021

If there is one thing that will absolutely stand in the way of you achieving business growth, it's having a negative mindset.  More specifically, it's having a negative mindset dominated by an active ego.

To help you achieve all of your growth goals in less time, we're sharing 7 clear signs that you're letting your mind be dominated by the ultra-negative ego.

If you spot one of these signs in yourself, then it's up to you to squash the ego ASAP.  You're the only one who can do it!

As a result, you'll immediately have a clearer mind and be ready to tackle all of the challenges that come with running a growing business.

While your own ego can do a negative number on your business, YOU are the solution to overcoming it.  Will you do what it takes to squash it?  Or, will you let it be the thing that leads to your downfall?


What Is Ego?


The word ego is a commonly thrown around term these days.  As a result, it has several definitions.

In this article though, we're defining ego as a state of mind in which you believe that the state of your mind is caused by the outer world rather than from your own thoughts.

For example, if you get an F on a test and feel extremely sad, upset, and anxious, an ego tries to tell you that if the teacher wouldn't have given you an F that you wouldn't feel so bad.

On the other hand, if the ego isn't activated, then you would tell yourself that you feel bad because of the way that you're thinking about the circumstances.  Moreover, you're not blaming the emotions you feel on anything but your own reaction to the situation!

It's usually easy to spot an active ego in somebody, hence why we're sharing 7 common signs of it!

You can think of an ego like a light switch that gets turned on and off.  And, the truth is that everyone has an ego inside of their mind.  BUT, it's a choice whether or not to turn it on and then listen to it.


Why Ego Commonly Activates In Entrepreneurs During Growth Stages


Whenever we enter either challenging circumstances or unknown territory, including when attempting to kickstart business growth, the ego has a tendency to peak it's ugly head out.


Because, at its core, the purpose of the ego is self-protection.  

What does the ego need protection from?

The ego needs protection from perceived threats.  And, anything that challenges you or makes you uncomfortable is interpreted as a threat by the ego.

Unfortunately though, in order to reach the next level, CEOs and business owners MUST be willing to get uncomfortable.  Because, growth of any kind always requires them to step out of their comfort zone.

Therefore, it's only inevitable that the ego jumps into play!  The second it starts to see unknown territory or feels even slightly uneasy, it will perceive the circumstance as a threat, activate, and then try to defend itself.


What Is Important For Business Growth?


There are several highly important factors for business growth.

However, when it comes down to it, having the right mindset is the most important factor for business growth!

What makes mindset so important?

Mindset is crucial because your mindset is the accumulation of the thoughts you think.  And, your thoughts determine the emotions you feel.  And, the emotions you feel determine the actions you take.  And, the actions you take ultimately determine the results you get. 

That being said, if you've got an ego that negatively influences the thoughts you think, you certainly have a negative mindset and are setting yourself up to get a negative result!


Types of business growth


1. Not Adjusting Course When Your Growth Strategy Doesn’t Work


Regardless of what you see on social media, there is no such thing as a straightforward, uphill ascent in business.  Just about every successful entrepreneur will tell you that their business growth journey was a series of climbs, falls, and, worst of all, plateaus.

Also, those same entrepreneurs understood that when they hit a pitfall or plateau, it might have been a sign that something in their business growth strategy was off.  Perhaps after several weeks of not seeing the kind of results they anticipated, they questioned whether or not it could be a result of their own doing.

That isn't to say that they question their entire strategy.  Rather, they re-assess whether one or two small bits of it are throwing them off.

That being said, if every time your growth expectations don't match reality you don't consider whether or not it's because your strategy is off, then it's a sign of ego creeping up.  

Even worse, if you start to blame every external factor in the book before looking in the mirror to identify the problem, then you might have a serious issue on your hands.

Bottom line: If growth clearly isn't going as projected, have the humility to set your ego aside, assess whether or not it's due to faults in your own strategy, and then have the courage to make the necessary changes to it.


Use Subpar Results As Business Growth Fuel!


Here's the thing... If results aren't manifesting as you'd like them to, take that negative feedback and use it as fuel to get back on the growth track!

More specifically, if you're not making additional sales or gaining new customers, investigate the issue that is stunting your growth.  Then, once you've identified the root of the problem, use the feedback to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Instead of just getting upset and pointing fingers, use those subpar results as a chance to improve your business.  Unless you step up to the plate and recognize the mistakes in your own strategy, your business can't grow.


You’ll Inevitably Have to Adjust Strategy at One Point or Another


Whether you like it or not, every business owner has to adjust their growth strategy at one point or another.

It doesn’t matter if you're a large or small business owner, or the founder of a new startup or mature company, just know that you're going to have to change it at one point or another if you want to grow.

That being said, you might as well get comfortable now with making adjustments to your strategy!


2. You Have Great Mentors But Rarely Consider Their Input


Do you have a mentor who helps develop business plans, give input on product development, or influence you to up your leadership skills?

If so, that's awesome!.  Having a mentor who has stood in your shoes before is like having Michael Jordan give you basketball pointers.

However, the next question is... How often do you actually take your mentor up on their advice?

Was there ever a time they gave you a piece of constructive criticism, but then you didn't take them up on their inputs?  Even worse, did you grow to resent them for giving you constructive criticism?

If so, then odds are that ego is coming into play!

The thing is... If you've vetted your mentor and believe that they're qualified to give you advice, then why would you turn away from them once they give their input?  The most common reason for doing so is because you're letting ego take over.

Again, taking up a solid mentor is one of the best things that anyone taking the entrepreneurship path in life can do for themselves.  However, mentors are useless if you don't apply the inputs they give.


First Off… Get Inputs From the Right People


Before going any further, we've got to stop here and point out the importance of not just having a mentor, but having the right mentor!

That being said, the best mentor a CEO of a growing business can have is a CEO coach.


Because, top CEO coaches have achieved business growth themselves, therefore they know what it takes to help get a business off the ground.  More specifically, they know how to develop leadership qualities in CEOs, so they can lead their businesses to triumph.

Don't just take any old person for a mentor.  Instead, find a CEO coach to help ignite business growth.


Successful Businesses Need Multiple Perspectives


A successful, thriving business almost never manifests from the mind of just one person.  Rather, it takes a CEO plus a mentor (ideally a CEO coach) to develop the kind of strategic planning it takes to grow a company.


Because, the CEO coach has a unique lens through which they view life.  Therefore, they bring a new perspective to the business.  

With an additional perspective, there are more opportunities for growth and fewer potential pitfalls.

Therefore, don't let your ego push a CEO coach to the side.  Instead, embrace them and their inputs to get a new perspective on growth.


3. Business Team Members Aren’t In On the Growth Plan


Are you sitting all alone at your desk drumming up new business plans without the help of your team members?

If so, then ask yourself whether or not ego is coming into play.

Most of the time when CEOs isolate themselves without giving their team members a run-down on the game plan, it's because their ego fears criticism or opposition.  

Even if they have the best team members in the world who would actually help improve the plans, their ego has them fearing criticism with no good reason for it!

The truth is that nobody likes the feeling of being criticized or opposed to, even by their trusted confidants.  But, if it gets to a point in which you're isolating yourself to avoid potential criticism, then it's time to call ego into question.


Team Members Are Growth Assets, Not Liabilities


Remember, you hired your team members for important reasons, including:

  1. You knew you couldn't run your business all on your own
  2. You knew you needed outside expertise

These two reasons become even more apparent when you're trying to achieve company growth!  

Think about it... Whether you're increasing market penetration or expanding to new markets, you need additional hands to help take on the extra workload.  Additionally, you need sales and marketing experts who know exactly what it takes to increase market share or understand the new market.

So, if you leave your team on the outside of your business growth plans, how do you expect them to ever help you achieve your goals?  Team members are growth assets, not liabilities!


You Can’t Hide From Criticism Forever


Dodging constructive criticism isn't possible, especially from your caring team members who genuinely want to see growth happen!

That being said, regardless of how hard you try to hide, you're going to get criticism!

Just keep in mind that when criticism comes from team members, that they're saying it for the betterment of the company.


Growth factors in business


4. Your Customer Base Doesn’t Stick Around For Long


Solid, reliable, and long-term customer relationships are perhaps your greatest potential asset in business.  And, they’re ever more beneficial when you're trying to stimulate growth.


Because, when you have strong relationships with existing customers, they’re more likely to:

  1. Vouch for your greatness
  2. Give you referrals for new customers
  3. Purchase from you again in the future

First off, when you have an awesome relationship with your current customers, the greater the odds they're willing to vouch for your greatness.  More specifically, the greater the odds they're willing to play into your marketing strategy.  For example, they're more likely to agree to be the subject of powerful case studies. 

Second, when you have a great relationship with customers, they're more likely to give you referrals in your target market when asked for them.  This is perhaps the most valuable benefit of having strong customer relationships.

Lastly, if they really like you, odds are that existing customers will purchase a newer, updated version of your product or request your services again in the future.  This kind of customer loyalty can make all the difference in growth.

Unfortunately though, if you've got an ego, your current customers are going to feel it, just as any other person would.  And, ego never rubbed anybody the right way!

Therefore, if you've got an ego, you can kiss these benefits of strong customer relationships goodbye!  Instead, they'll be walking out the door at the first chance they get.

Furthermore, if you just can't seem to get customers to stick, ask yourself whether or not an ego is giving them negative energy and pushing them away.


Customers Feel Your Toxic Energy


As much as you try to hide it or play it off, customers will sniff out your ego like a shark smells blood in the water.


Energy is palpable!  As much as you try to hide your toxic energy, it will always find a way to sneak out.

The truth is, your egotistical emotional state not only directly rubs off on customers, but it influences you to take actions that have negative impacts on others.

Nobody likes to work with an egotistical person...  Therefore, the only way you can salvage existing customer relationships is to ditch the ego!

Even if your ego feels like a nice protective blanket covering you, it will certainly cause customers to flee for the closest available door.


5. Toxic Positivity


Toxic positivity is a bit of a hot-button word these days.  But, what exactly does it mean?

Toxic positivity is an attitude in which you choose to be positive without recognizing a serious problem at hand.  Rather than choosing to confront the problem, you overlook it for the sake of wanting to be positive.

For example, let's say that over the course of several months you haven't been hitting your growth metrics.  You sit down with your team to discuss the matter, but instead of recognizing the issue and coming up with ways to address it, you completely bypass it because you don't want to have an apparent negative attitude.

Here's the thing though... You should be able to recognize and address challenging issues without killing your positive attitude.  

Moreover, you should be able to address difficult problems at hand, come up with solutions for them, and then walk away still choosing to be positive about the future.

Unfortunately, if you can't seem to shake off toxic positivity, it's a strong sign that ego is at play!

The reason it manifests is because, again, the ego despises criticism.  It would rather be positive even if it means overlooking serious issues.  

Think of it like this… Your ego would rather have you keep driving a flaming car because it's stressful to confront the reality of the situation than pull over and jump out!

Unlike having a positive attitude which is never a bad thing, toxic positivity is terrible.  Even worse, it's a sign of a strong ego.


Be Positive, But Don’t Ignore the Obvious Issues


You can have a great attitude without ignoring clear problems in your business! 

That's what being positive is all about... It's about looking at the road ahead of you, whether it looks good or bad, and still choosing to have a positive attitude.  Moreover, it's about addressing the evident problems at hand while still being optimistic about the future.

Toxic positivity unfortunately has several negative consequences, including:

  1. Overlooking obvious problems allows them to grow larger
  2. It rubs off terribly on team members and customers

Bottom line... Be positive without being toxic about it!


6. Constant Comparison to Competitors


Remember when your parents used to say that comparison is the thief of joy?  Whether you've heard it before or not, it's a true statement!

Not only that, but constantly comparing yourself as a CEO to other COEs and your business to your competitors is a clear sign of a strong ego at play.

What does ego have to do with comparison?

Because the ego despises criticism, it tries to get ahead of the game before it can be criticized.  In order to do that, it compares itself against others to try and find an upper-hand above them.  Ultimately, that upper-hand acts as a protection from criticism.

Think of it like this... If you’re afraid of people judging the way you look, what is your best defense?  It's to get them before they get you!  To do that, you pit yourself up against others as a way to defend yourself from their criticism.  And, while comparison offers you literally zero protection, your ego still sees it as such. 

Furthermore, if you find yourself constantly thinking about all the ways you and your business stack up against competition, not only will you likely feel very anxious, but you can also bet it's because of the ego.


Competition Will Never Go Away


You can't compare your competition away.  

No matter how much time you spend thinking about where you stand against them, it'll never make a difference or improve your situation.

The thing about competition is that it can become a motivating force if you make it such. 

If you start seeing your competition as a reason to constantly be improving, then you can see them as something to be thankful for and not threatened by.


Copying Competition Only Takes You Backwards


The more you compare yourself to your competition, the worse your business growth results you usually get.


Because, much of the time when we compare our business to the competition, we unconsciously start to mimic them.  We adopt their strategies, sales tactics, and, worst of all, their unique value proposition.

As a result, we ultimately start to blend in with the competition, which is as close as you can get to a disaster in business. 

If you want to stay on the business growth track, you can't mimic the competition.  Yet, comparison caused by the ego causes you to unconsciously mimic them.  Therefore, the only solution is to strike the ego down.


Study Competition, But Don’t Copy


While you shouldn't constantly be comparing your business to the competition or copying them, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't study them.

Studying your competitors has a couple of upsides, including:

  1. It helps you search for cracks in their business model that you can fill
  2. It helps you hone in on your own target market

First off, if you have a competitor that sells a similar product or service, look for cracks in their business model you could fill.  For example, if you run a SAAS company and you see that your competitor's have overall poor customer service, that could be a crack for your business to fill!

Second, look at your competitor's business results to get a better idea of what the current market is looking for.  Looking at buyer trends ultimately helps you refine who your own ideal customer is.

Study and then use your new insights to improve business growth.


business growth strategy


7. Achieving Business Goals Consumes Your Life


Are you overwhelmed by your business goals?  Do you feel like there's never a moment in the day that you don't anxiously think about them?

Here's the thing: If your goals don't light a fire inside you, then they're not goals you should be trying to achieve.  However, when those goals turn into an all-consuming-flame that causes you to go up in flames, you've got a problem on your hands.

More specifically, it means that ego is creeping into the picture.

When all you can think about is achieving goals, checking boxes, and winning, you take your eyes off the process of achieving those goals.  And when you take your eyes off the process, you're not conscious of the day-to-day's of business, including feedback from customers, team members, and results!

To put it more simply, whenever you’re not fixated on the process, it means you're unable to learn the valuable lessons that life is trying to teach you in the present moment.


Remember What Business Is All About


When push comes to shove, remind yourself what business is all about.

Need a reminder?

Business is about helping others solve their problems.  It's about noticing problems in the world and coming up with solutions for them.  To put it more simply, business is about service.

When you find yourself freaking out over achieving goals, remind yourself that business is about helping others, not checking boxes on a piece of paper.

Yes, achieving goals is extremely important, yet your focus in business should be primarily on helping others.  

And at the end of the day, focusing on helping others will actually increase the odds that you achieve your goals!


Set Goals, But Don’t Let Them Consume You


We're not trying to say that you shouldn't set goals or that you shouldn't strive to achieve them.  Rather, what we are saying is not to base your value and your company's value on whether or not you reach them.

Remember, business is all about service, so the real prize comes from serving people throughout the growth process.

In the end, if you don't achieve your growth goals, don't let ego try to tell you you failed.  Instead, think about how you served others and changed their lives for the better.

The ego isn't your friend, it doesn't want to tell you that you’ve won!  Therefore, you need to drown it out and realize that if you've served people well that you've already won.


Final Thoughts on Ego and Business Growth


Remember, you're the only thing that can squash the ego!

And, unless you do just that, it will certainly kill all your efforts to achieve high-level growth in business.

It's time to do what it takes to be your very best!  Are you ready to step up to the plate, or are you going to let the ego overcome you?

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