If you watched the iThrive documentary series, you might remember Dr. Doug Lisle talking about the Ego Trap, and how it’s one of the big challenges to making changes in our lives.
The main idea is that there is a temptation not to seriously make an effort, if it means that we might fail, and by failing we will lose a positive image or reputation we have.
Well, about 18 years ago, back in the dot com boom, I had successfully built a reputation as a leader in streaming media technology, startup founder, and entrepreneur, flying around in jets and doing multi-million dollar deals from fortune 500 companies to venture capitalists. I was already financially successful and was very close to taking it to the next level and becoming incredibly financially successful. Then the dot com boom suddenly went bust.
It broke my back. My ego was crushed. I lost everything both in personal relationships and professionally. I became incredibly depressed and felt like a victim of something outside of my control. I blamed the dot com bust and I acted like a big baby. I just gave up! This led to a downward spiral of shame, depression, isolation… and eventually food addiction, obesity and diabetes.
For years and years, I told the story about how I was ALMOST the next Mark Cuban. I got a great esteem (read ego!) boost out of this without having to take another entrepreneurial risk. Taking the risk of trying to start another business could mean failing–and thus losing my reputation I had built my identity around being a very smart, successful entrepreneur.
I lost faith in myself and no longer trusted myself. My internal compass could not be trusted. I avoided any challenges and I slowly withdrew from the world more and more.
So, I didn’t take much risk. I sat around feeling sorry for myself, and telling stories of the good ole days to anyone who would listen in exchange for a little esteem.
Finally in 2016 I started following the inspiring journey of Brian Rose, an American investment banker who realized that a life focused on making money with the stock market was not his life’s calling. He left Wall Street to pursue his dreams and passions, and risked his reputation by following his passion and starting a broadcast called LondonREAL where he interviews the most interesting successful people he can find.
Brian’s story inspired me, because here was a successful guy who chose to risk everything to start over in business, and follow his heart. His enthusiasm was contagious and inspiring me to live again.
In the fall of 2016, Brian led a course for entrepreneurs, and I eagerly joined.
But even in that course, I was still stuck in the ego trap. I didn’t finish the course work, and didn’t start a business during the course.
After the course ended, Brian sat me down in his interview chair, and asked about my life’s journey. I told him about the failures I’d had in my life, which left me filled with shame, depressed and isolated. A prison of my own making. Afraid of my own limitations, I created my own ego trap.
The best thing the course did for me was to connect me with inspiring people from around the world, including Brian Rose, and the man who would later become my iThrive business partner, Michael Skye.
Together with Michael I would dare once more to throw my hat in the ring, and risk complete humiliation — and even my life — to start iThrive and attempt to inspire the world to reclaim their health and well-being by reversing their diabetes and obesity — and thriving!
Have you ever been stuck in the Ego Trap? How?