I failed, recently. I failed in a startup that I loved and wanted to succeed in. I failed, and we failed, and it hurt. Of course it did. That’s only natural. But in the face of it, I had a choice. I could choose to let my ego bruise and blister and hold onto that failure until it turned into ugly resentment — or I could choose to let go of my ego and just accept that sometimes s**t doesn’t work out.
Today, when I saw the team had a win, I reached out to them and gave them my best wishes and congratulations, and guess what? It didn’t hurt me one bit. And I got to tell some people who have worked hard that I’m proud of them.
The truth is, our egos hold us back from being our best selves. Our egos sabotage and damage us and drive us down dark paths where there is no satisfaction. Where we just wind up more and more miserable. Don’t let your ego turn failure into catastrophe. Don’t let it push you to treat others in a way that you know ain’t right.
Our egos don’t control us. We’re valid, we’re incredible and we’re worth gold just the way we are.
Joan Westenberg is an award winning Australian contemporary writer, designer and creative director. She is the founder of branding and advertising firm Studio Self. Her approach to messaging, communication and semiotics has built her reputation as a writer, and she has been named as one of the leading startup voices in Australia by SmartCompany.
Her writing has appeared in The SF Chronicle, Wired, The AFR, The Observer, ABC, Junkee, SBS, Crikey and over 40+ publications. Her regular work can be found on Pizza Party, a blog about creativity, culture and technology. Joan is the creator Transgenderinclusion.com, an open-source workplace inclusion hack, and the author of the book #DIY, a manifesto for indie creativity.