One of the biggest mistakes many career goers make is allowing ego to exceed his or her talent and potential. We see it all the time in the entertainment industry. An artist on his or her first album has already declared “No one has worked as hard as him or her” or “No one can top what he or she has created…” and so on. As soon as I hear this monologue, I cringed. This is usually a pretty good inclination that he or she has become infected with the self-indulgent ego monster; subsequently, it’s also usually the beginning of a pitfall for this person’s career. Egotism. Having pride is healthy, but ego is something totally different. Ego is a mask for a much greater emotion. It guards deeper feeling that many of us are too embarrassed to admit we have like: fear and insecurity. Instead, what we project is arrogance.
After my stint on a reality show, I quickly began a professional modeling career. I was so afraid of making mistakes. I was even more afraid of asking for help. So, I would pretend to know everything. I would fake being comfortable in castings or photoshoots. I would almost always reply to any question with “I know, I know…” I had become incredibly arrogant and passive aggressive externally but on the inside I was fearful that someone would call my bluff. I was so nervous that people would see how green I really was. For me, being unknowledgeable in the career I was pursuing was unacceptable and humiliating. Even if I had to fake it, I refused to let anyone see how much I didn’t know. It reminded me of standing in front of panel of judges who critiqued everything about me. I remember standing there every week hoping to hear that I was “good enough” to stick around. I would do anything to be seen as good enough. Unbeknownst to me, it seemed history had repeated itself. Even after the show, I was still going to great lengths to appear “good enough.”
My ego was my self-defense; it defended my vulnerability and nativity. But ego is such a double-edged sword. That same defense mechanism landed me in the hot seat plenty of days. I lost jobs because of my “defense”. I was replaced for scheduled appearances because of my “defense”. I was astonished! I learned a very expensive lesson about humbleness. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes humility to deflate an ego and accept that we are all workers amongst many. Maturity isn’t so much about being the most educated or most talented as much as it is acknowledging your truth. We owe it to ourselves to be clear and honest at all times. The point is none of us are really as “great” as we gloat about. We are not awful as we secretly tell ourselves either. Most importantly, we are not alone. Regardless what thought, emotion or action we will embark on, someone somewhere has been there first. So kill the ego and ask for help.
-Enjoy the journey