Momentum Podcast: 842
Are You Trapped By Your Ego?
by Alex Charfen
As an entrepreneur leading a team, it's common to feel overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list and a sense of dread about each day's tasks. You might even experience what I call the “quitting fantasy,” where you consider shutting down your business and doing something else.
However, as entrepreneurs, we have a drive and compulsion to be in momentum and make things happen, so we rarely quit for good. The reason for feeling trapped in this way might be due to our ego. We tend to hold everything in and not ask for help, even when we need it. This is because our ego, which is there to protect us, can sometimes overprotect us and prevent us from being vulnerable with those around us. As a result, we don't get the help we need, which leads to overwhelm and the quitting fantasy.
In this podcast, I will teach you how to overcome this. we need to step into vulnerability and be transparent with our team, friends, and family about how we're feeling and what we need help with.
Full Audio Transcript
If you are an entrepreneur and leading a team and you find yourself overwhelmed, always having too much to do the never ending to do list, having a feeling of dread about what you have to do each day, and maybe even experiencing the quitting fantasy that I'll explain in a minute. Then there might be a key here that is holding you in place and slowing you down. You may be trapped by your ego. I'll explain in a moment.
Like I said in the introduction, you know, I've coached hundreds of entrepreneurs and had thousands, tens of thousands in our learning programs and affiliated and associated with our company in some way. And I see this consistency whereas entrepreneurs, by the way, myself included, this is a lesson that I continue to learn over and over and over again. And I'm still learning to this day.
Thankfully, I've made radical improvements to where I once was. Because I see entrepreneurs who start to feel overwhelmed with everything that they have to do with their time for their business, feeling like there's too much to do. Like they have this never ending to do list that they just can't get out from under. They start feeling trapped in and like they're held in place. That feeling of constraint, that feeling of dread, of what we have to do on a daily basis. And we start experiencing the quitting fantasy. The quitting fantasy is that voice in the back of our head that says, “Hey, wouldn't it be easier if I just shut this all down and went back to doing it all myself? Wouldn't it be easier if I did something smaller? Wouldn't it be easier if I pulled back? Wouldn't it be easier if I just did nothing right now? And how can I do that?” The reason I call it the quitting fantasy is even if we make the decision to shut everything down, we're going to do something else. People like you and I, we don't stop. We have this drive, this need, this compulsion to be in momentum, to be making things happen, to be changing the world. And so even if temporarily, we take the out, we're coming back. So I call it the quitting fantasy because we never really will quit. You don't quit until you give up. And as entrepreneurs, we don't know how. You don't quit until you stop. And we rarely do that. And so there might be an issue that's holding you in place. There might be a challenge that's holding your place. And I know that this is a concept that it's hard to get sometimes clear on because this is something I work on constantly. But you may be trapped by your ego.
And here's what I mean by trapped by your ego. If you are always overwhelmed, you have too much. You have a never need to do list. You're starting to feel dread. You have that quitting fantasy. Chances are you're not getting enough help. Chances are you're not being transparent about where you are with your friends, with the people around you, with your family, with your team, the people who are important to you. You're not telling them what's going on. You're holding it all inside. And as a result, you're not getting help. As a result, you're not feeling community or validation. As a result, you're feeling like you're all alone. And that's what brings on these feelings of overwhelm and dreading and the quitting fantasy. It's when we get overwhelmed, when we feel like there's no exit, when we feel like there's no end, when we feel like it's just going to continue forever. And by the way, every single one of us does this. Like I said myself included, the most successful entrepreneurs in the world allow themselves to get to this place because as entrepreneurs, we know we need more help than the majority of the population because there's so much more that we want to do. Yet every request that we make for help leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed to put this in stronger language, in my language. Every request we make for protection and support leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed
And there's a reason most of us, every entrepreneur I've ever worked with, I say most of us, because maybe there's an exception. I've never met one. But for most of us, the vast majority 99.9 something percent. We've all had the experience in our lives of being vulnerable and transparent and real and asking for help. For a lot of us, it goes back to school. For some of us, it's with our parents. For some of us, it's with early positions or jobs that we had where we asked for help. And not only do we not get help, we are the opposite. We got criticized. We got condemned. We were told we were different, we were judged. And as a result, it makes it really hard for us to ask for help. It makes it really hard for us to like, tell people where we really are and be vulnerable. And the reason is our ego, that part of our personality, that part of our presence that is there to protect us is in the way. And our ego’s important. Having good ego drive and understanding yourself and being proud of yourself is very important. But sometimes, sometimes our ego, this survival mechanism over protects us. It makes it so that we hold everything in. It makes it so we don't step into that vulnerability of telling the people around us what we really need. It makes it so we don't just come clean with our team and say, “Hey guys, I'm feeling overwhelmed and here's why. Who can help? How can I get this stuff off my plate?” It makes it so that we continue to every single day go through the same habit of trying to do it all ourselves. Even though it's not working.
It's because our ego feels like it's protecting us when we do this. And I want you to know I've done this my whole career. I still do it. I still get to places where I'm feeling overwhelmed. I still get to places where I wake up and look at my calendar for the day and look at my to-do list for the day and think, Oh, I don't even want to do this. Today feels overwhelming. Today is too much. And sometimes I get stuck there. Now, when I was younger, I would get stuck there for months, sometimes years. Now, in retrospect, thinking about how I felt about my businesses that I've run in the past. These days I get stuck there for minutes, maybe an hour or two, until I go, “Oh, you know what? I'm feeling those feelings. I need to ask for help.” And I'll sit down and I'll write down all the reasons I'm feeling overwhelmed. This is that overwhelming equation. I've got a podcast called Overwhelm Equation. If you want more, a more detailed explanation of this. But overwhelm comes from two things: high pressure and noise and an unknown outcome. And so pressure and noise are all the things in our lives that lead up to us feeling pressured. to lead up to contributing to the noise in our lives. It can be anything. It can be doctor's appointments. It can be having to follow a schedule. It can be too much of a to do list. It can be pressure that you're feeling with your kids, with your family, with the business, with anything that's going on. And then the second part of overwhelm is an unknown outcome. It's that we're not clear on our next steps, because if we were clear on our next steps as entrepreneurs, as the entrepreneurial personality types, that we are as evolutionary hunters, if we're clear on our next step, we go on the hunt. And being on the hunt for us is not overwhelming. It may be hard. It usually is, maybe difficult. There may be challenges, but when we're clear on our next steps, that's when we punch through what's hard and difficult. And we eliminate challenges because we're clear on what we're doing next. When we're unclear on our next steps, when it feels like there's never any story of activity that's always going to be there. That's when we get overwhelmed. And the way out of overwhelm is really two steps. One, you have to get clear on everything that's going on today. And two. You need a partially known outcome. That means you just need the next few steps.
And so when I get to this place, I sit down and I do the first part, clarify what's going on. Today. I take out a sheet of paper. Typically I go for a walk for 20 minutes. First I clear my mind, come back, and the way that I clear my mind is I write down everything that is causing me frustration, noise, pressure, challenges. Where is the noise coming from? Anything that is there, like even little things I'll write down, you know, I might write down. I've got too much to do right now. I have too many projects. You know, I had an argument with one of my daughters this morning and the light switch in my garage isn't working. I write it all down until I can't think of anything else. And you know what happens? Just the act of clarifying today. Just the act of putting it all down starts to relieve some of the pressure and noise. Then I look at it and I ask myself, What are some next steps I can take and ask myself an even more important question: Where can I get help? Where can I talk to somebody who will understand where I'm coming from and validate how I'm feeling? Where can I ask a team member, a family member, or somebody I know for advice or support? Where can I delegate something that's on my to do list? Where can I get together with a team member and say, Hey, this is too much for me right now? How do I transfer it to you? And I go through those questions and I start making a list of all the things I'm going to do. Then I go through that list and you know what happens? I go from feeling overwhelmed. I go from that place of being trapped by my ego. I go from feeling like I just don't want to do it anymore to as I start to do the things that I just mentioned, as I start to talk to people, as I start to get validation, as I started to get help, as I started to ask for help, the exact same level of energy with which I was feeling overwhelmed, that high level of overwhelm turns into a massive, sometimes higher level of confidence because I move my ego out of the way and I start asking for help by getting really clear on where I need it. So if you as an entrepreneur are in that place where you're feeling some of the things I said, like I said, overwhelmed too much to do, never need to-do list. You're feeling dread. You're feeling the quitting fantasy. Take a minute now. Go on a 20 minute walk. Come back to your desk. Write down everything that is causing you to feel that way. Ask yourself, where can you start getting help? Where can you get support? Where can you get validation? Who can you meet with? Even if it's just calling a friend and telling them how you're feeling, getting it off your chest. You will start to shift the energetic immediately and you'll go from being trapped by your ego to getting the help you need and getting out of this feeling so that you can create massive momentum and achieve the goals that you know you want to achieve. If you're an entrepreneur who's running a business, I run a company called simpleoperations.com, and we'd love to talk to you. We help entrepreneurs grow their businesses without feeling like they have to do everything themselves.
You know, my mission in the world is to help visionary entrepreneurs be seen and heard, because the biggest issue for us as visionaries is that we see this incredible, bright, amazing future and the rest of the world doesn't see it. And when we can communicate that to our team and the people around us, that's when that vision comes true. And we teach the structure, the process, the routine, and the critical frameworks that will help you do this as you install our simple operations system so that you can grow your business and have the outcomes that you've always wanted, the influence that you know you should have, and the income that will change your life. Go to simpleoperations.com. Answer a few questions for my team, register for a call with us. We love to talk to you and help you move in a better direction and have clarity as to how you're going to grow your company with your team out in front of you and leading the way simpleoperations.com. And remember, if you're trapped by your ego, it's probably because you're not asking for enough help. So right now, take a minute and reach out to us. We're here to help you.