In a recent Better Every Day episode, Breaking through the ego shell, Darren Root, Chief Strategist for Right Networks, and John Mitchell, Culture and Workforce Advisor for Right Networks, examined the concept of breaking through the shells we build around our ego (AKA: our inner, or egoic, selves)—and why it’s essential in finding joy and peace.
The concept of ego
First, a clarification. When Darren and John talk about “ego,” they’re not referring to the traditional assumption—the notion of ego and feeling superior to others. They’re talking about the Freudian definition of the ego: the rational, objective part of ourselves. What some believe is our true identity.
Darren believes you’re not born with an ego self. His theory is that the ego is formed over time and defined by how you grew up and what you learned along the way. And it’s those two core elements that determine how you think about everything in the vast space of your mind.
We create our egoic world over many years. The ego is shaped by our formative years and beyond—that is, the things we were exposed to as children (e.g., sports, theater, social dynamics), by the jobs or career paths we take, and even by our spouses and families. It’s the inner self we get used to. But too often, as Darren says, “We never bust out beyond that ego.”
The ego shell
Darren and John agree that a good way to think about the ego is as our inner shell. Outside things—work, family, politics, even what’s happening in outer space—continuously bounce against that shell, encouraging us to integrate that outer world with our inner world.
But it’s so much easier and more comfortable to focus on the outer world. It’s easier to talk about, say, outer space instead of our inner space. Why? Because when we talk about outer space, we can fantasize and hypothesize.
But inner space? That’s personal. It takes more work to tap into it…to get to a place where we can break it open and enhance our true identity. We get so busy with life that we don’t take the time to work on the ego. The trouble with this is that when all those outer elements enter our space, they’re blocked by the inner self. They’re just sitting outside the ego shell and progressively getting heavier. A sign, John posits, that something inside needs to be addressed. That our soul is yelling at us to pay attention.
“If we could break through that shell, all that stuff would get released,” Darren tells John. And that, they agree, could free us to get back to where we started—reclaiming our childlike sense of awe and wonder and helping to spark passion.
Build something that matters
Our ego makes us unique. How each person responds to the outside noise and breaks through that ego shell is just as unique. So, take the opportunity to break your shell and start building something that matters. When you do, it can have a positive impact on others— inspiring them to break through as well.
Once you’ve broken through your ego shell and found inspiration, continue to inspire your team with the help of the Rootworks Healthy Culture in the Modern Firm eBook. You’ll get ideas on how you can pursue the dream firm you’ve envisioned. A place where clients can find value and partnership, and where your employees love their jobs.