Many books provide some excellent insight, ideas, and motivation. Even the ones I haven’t enjoyed much have at least had a handful of nuggets of knowledge to collect. Occasionally there are those books which some have referred to as “quake books,” the ones which rock my foundation. Those are the ones that go up on the short shelf to be read and re-read. They are the ones that cause me to pause and think. Quake books force me to step back and look at myself through a new lens.
The most recent one is a book I’ve known about for quite a while but hadn’t brought myself to pull the trigger on, Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. This read was like a sledgehammer to my ego, one of the hardest hitting books I’ve read in a long time.
The timing of me reading this is quite serendipitous. I’d already started putting together the presentation of my partnership history with Express when I decided it was time to pick this up for the first time. While compiling my notes for that presentation I kept realizing just how many times I’ve let my ego get the better of me. When asked by a teammate what my biggest mistake was in my career my ego was the one that I couldn’t help but focus on. How many opportunities missed, how many potential successes squandered, and how many partnerships undone before they could happen have there been due to my inability to see just how much my ego got in the way. It was humbling to admit, especially in a room full of cohorts, but it also felt like a weight lifted. Acceptance can be a beautiful first step.
This book really helped me see just how ego has gotten in my way, and that I am certainly not alone. There were so many stories of others who’d made similar mistakes and others who’d performed the way I wish I would have. After finishing it today I had to just sit down and let it all sink in and ferment a bit. This one will be re-read again soon, there is so much more info to glean from it, so much work ahead for me. I’m so appreciative to have this tool to help me grow, to help me close the gap between who I am and who I should be.