The biggest problem is the ego telling us what we can’t do. It’s the little voice that we all accept inside of ourselves limiting our efforts, keeping us from stretching. But it also operates in extremes both ways; when we are uncertain about something it tells us we have no chance and when we accomplish something it can make us forget how much work it took to get there.
Well, we can’t get rid of the ego. So it’s a matter of dealing with it the right way. As an athlete who adopted every sport I played in my life much later than most people, I found that I had to ignore my ego to get started. My ego told me I was not good enough to play hockey when I started as an 11 year old with kids who’d been playing since they were 5, it told me I was not good enough when I tried to make the McMaster University football team having never played before and was facing top recruits and CFL-bound seniors, it told me I was not good enough when I started learning how to row with high school kids and 80 year old ladies who were better than me, it told me I was not good enough when I joined the national rowing team in 2011.
The ego has always been an inhibitor for me when trying to start things. I’ve been fortunate enough to push through enough gut check moments in life to develop an inner voice I call The Truth that is constantly beating back the defeatist side of my ego. The Truth is not about being overly optimistic or pumping your own tires. The Truth is the voice that reminds you of how things have almost always turned out much better than your ego said it would. It’s rooted in experience. There’s no better way to galvanize this inner truth than by taking action and learning from what really happens rather than your perception of what will happen. As a team player in sport or in business it takes that extra bit of humility to step back and say, “I’ve thought this through as much as I can, now let’s see what actually happens when I take action.”