How Does EGO Edge Greatness Out

How many times have you heard it said of someone talented that they could really go places if they could learn not to let their ego get in the way?

You might be nodding and thinking Yes, I know that person. Or maybe Yes, I am that person.

How can you tell if ego is leading the way?

If you are constantly defensive.
If you are always looking for approval.
If you always have to be right.
If you are constantly comparing yourself to others.
If you have to be one up on people.
If you have to be the center of attention.

When you allow ego to lead the way, you are Edging Out Greatness.

Ego is not about power—it’s about being powerless.

Ego is fear.
Ego is insecurity.
Ego is hurt.

Ego is the mask we wear to cover it all up.

The ego is not the enemy to be subdued but a compilation of unexamined habits that keep us from greatness.

So how do we focus on greatness and make it more and more the heart of our leadership?

Manage self-talk. If our inner critical voice has kept us safe for many years as our inner authority, we may end up doubting the real voice of who we’re really meant to be. Don’t let the self-chatter of fear and doubt get in the way. Great leaders pay attention to the things they tell themselves.

Celebrate talent. Knowing how talented we are is good; celebrating others is better. Great leaders do not aspire to reach their own greatness by keeping others down. They realize the more they surround themselves with talent and strong people, the more successful everyone will be.

Stop perfectionism. The belief that perfect is good and imperfect is bad is misguided. Trying to be perfect keeps us from being our best self. Great leaders know that the best lessons always happen in imperfect moments. Let them happen.

Admit mistakes. To distinguish ourselves from others we need to be on the right side of mistakes. When we mask our mistakes, when we think we have to be right, we are masking our insecurities. When we admit our mistakes and amend them, we allow others to see us for who we are. Great leaders lead with authenticity and learn from mistakes.

Demonstrate empathy. Empathy is a powerful thing—simply listening and withholding judgment. It’s about making a connection. When we demonstrate empathy toward ourselves, we learn how to be empathetic towards others.

Practice humility. Check yourself—not everything is about you. True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Remember, leadership is about serving others instead of being served.

Stop the comparisons. Stop constantly assessing and comparing yourself to others.Great leaders know that who they are is good enough—that they are great just as they are.

The greater the leader, the greater the doubt—perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize. Let the admission of your realities not change how brave you are, but reinforce how great you can be.

Lead From Within: Living our greatness is at the core of who we are, the center of our meaningful experience. When we lead with ego it can either be about edging greatness out or expanding greatness outwardly. We know what matters, but we have to choose what matters more.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Monica Coronel

    15. Jul, 2014

    Ego- Edge God Out. As a student of life I share my ideas without trying or pretending to teach anything. When we operate from the ego mind or fear we can’t help but to be critic, selfish, demanding, extremely sensitive to comments or behaviors, etc. When we consciously choose to operate or live our lives from love then we connect with our greatness and we see the world with love, peace, joy. It is our choice and our decision to train our mind and not let ego control our existence and decide what experience we have in life. Choose: love or fear

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      15. Jul, 2014

      You are right Monica it is our choice, life is always in our choosing. Thanks for your lovely comment. Appreciate you.

      Reply to this comment
      • Monica Coronel

        15. Jul, 2014

        Have you found a way to really create awareness of how our mind controls and influences our life? When I talk about it everybody nods but I don’t know if everybody really gets to see how our mind influences everything. I think people takes it intellectually but can’t really, really understand it.
        Hope you share your thoughts. Thanks

        Reply to this comment
  2. LaRae Quy

    15. Jul, 2014

    Great reminders, Lolly, that ego can derail us so quickly if we’re not aware of how it’s working in our life.

    This is a fantastic sentence: “Ego is not about power—it’s about being powerless.”

    Isn’t that really what drives our ego…the worry that we have no power and have no value.

    Great post!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      15. Jul, 2014

      Thanks LaRae for stopping by. Ego in bits and pieces is okay but the EGO that edges greatness out- is about being powerless.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Dawood Chishti

    15. Jul, 2014

    Discord ego and get refurbished your actions. A notable way lead.
    A remarkable article!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Paul Sohn

    16. Jul, 2014

    Just the post I needed to read today Lolly!

    Haha, I also love how you said it best ego will “edge greatness out.”

    I agree with your assessment when ego leads the way:

    “If you are constantly defensive.
    If you are always looking for approval.
    If you always have to be right.
    If you are constantly comparing yourself to others.
    If you have to be one up on people.
    If you have to be the center of attention.”

    The question is, where did this all come from?

    As a believer, I personally believe it comes from our sinful nature, but besides from that one of the biggest factors that impacts your personality and character is “parenting.” Though I’m still single, I can attest to the wonderful parenting I’ve brought up under my parents. I believe leadership really starts at the home, and it’ll have a ripple effect across our entire lives.

    Paul// Leadership Blogger,

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      18. Jul, 2014

      I like this: “I believe leadership really starts at the home, and it’ll have a ripple effect across our entire lives.”

      Thanks Paul for stopping by and lending us your wisdom. Appreciate you.

      Reply to this comment
  5. ATIG

    16. Jul, 2014

    Personally, I believe that the business environment play liabilities control to admit mistakes.
    I thought it was an excellent article and I compliment YOU.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Cindy Tomcak/Advisor to the Mortgage Industry

    18. Jul, 2014

    “The ego is not the enemy to be subdued but a compilation of unexamined habits that keep us from greatness.”

    It is time to examine these habits, habits can be changed! Thanks for continuing to write about what is unspoken in business.
    Cindy Tomcak/Advisor to the Mortgage Industry

    Reply to this comment
  7. Ajay Kumar Gupta

    18. Jul, 2014

    Dear Lolly,
    An insightful post.
    Ego is the sign of weakness and incompetence. It sprout when people develop resistance to accept what they have and who they are.
    Incompetence can lead to ego when people are not ready to accept their weaknesses. People stop willing to learn new knowledge and unlearn old knowledge. They continue to believe and justify their knowledge. They try to make their knowledge as a ‘yardstick’ and argue in all aspects to prove that others are wrong. By doing so, they feel happy and safe.
    People with ego create space between management and employees. They plays their tactics in the space created. Ego continues to keep greatness out as long as people have inertia. The moment they start challenging inertia, they start learning new things. They start overcoming their ego.
    The fact is that, ego originates from ignorance. People do not know who they are. They feel what they are not. I appreciate your point that people with ego wear masks. Unless they uncover their mask, it is difficult to achieve greatness.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Cindy Tomcak/Advisor to the Mortgage Industry

    18. Jul, 2014

    You stated, “The ego is not the enemy to be subdued but a compilation of unexamined habits that keep us from greatness.”

    Habits can be changed, but first we have to be willing to observe them. Thanks for continuing to write about the unspoken.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Neeraj

    18. Jul, 2014

    Amazing Article Lolly……..Loved it 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  10. Laurie

    18. Jul, 2014

    Lolly – you have a talent for presenting ideas that are often somewhat obscure, in a simple and comprehensible way. This sentence is has lots of wisdom in it … “The ego is not the enemy to be subdued but a compilation of unexamined habits that keep us from greatness.”

    In light of that thought, curiosity would be a good practice to add to your list – being wildly fascinated with what’s happening or unfolding – as a way of staying open.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas! Always appreciated.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Jay

    18. Jul, 2014

    It’s ironic to be reading this since I sent a snide email to a coworker recently because he set me back 2 days. I could have just left the diminunative remarks out but deliberately left them in. Everything you say here is 100% true and correct.

    One thing you didn’t really indicate is how to dissolve the fruitioning of ego. That is, in my example, I was angry about the delay and wanted to show I was correct too (ego). How does one just “turn off the switch?” so to speak.

    Finally, I really like this quote, “Remember, leadership is about serving others instead of being served.”
    – Very true.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Yawar

    19. Jul, 2014

    Thanks for sharing Lolly.A very nice comment here by LaRae ” ” that ego can derail us so quickly if we’re not aware of how it’s working in our life.”This is so true !

    Reply to this comment
  13. Shelley Lundquist (@letmemoveyou)

    19. Jul, 2014

    I’ve always found that ego is good for a couple of things. When i feel it rise, It calls me attention to myself and i know to step back. And in whatever direction it tries to direct me, i know i must persevere and follow my heart instead.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Jo Miller, GPC

    19. Jul, 2014

    Lolly, In my most recent ‘growth spurt’ I have found that I am more aware of my ego and it is easier, but not easy, to manage the emotions and habits that inevitably crop up when my ego starts to lead. I don’t banish my ‘ego’ – I do hear it and own it as my own issue(s) – for all the reasons that you mentioned – ego is fear, hurt and insecurity -it is our discomfort with our vulnerability. When the ego pops up and begins to take control — I treat it as a hurt child. I embrace it, comfort it and find ways to refocus attention. I love what you said – it truly resonates with me and my journey – “The ego is not the enemy to be subdued but a compilation of unexamined habits that keep us from greatness.” Thank you for creating spaces and places for us to examine our habits, our leadership and to ‘know what matters – so we can choose what matters more.’

    Reply to this comment
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    20. Jul, 2014

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  16. Glen C. Harnish IV

    31. Jul, 2014

    Great blog. Inspiring and succinct- really like the emphasis on integrity, character, and flexible mind states. I believe there is a typo on the “Admit mistakes” paragraph. “When weadmit YOUR mistakes….” should it be “our?”

    Reply to this comment
  17. Helen

    25. Aug, 2014

    Thank you! Great post, things that I need to remember:)

    Reply to this comment
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    13. Sep, 2014

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  19. Chris Greenwood

    20. Sep, 2014

    This reminded me of a fantastic poem that I felt compelled to share by Portia Nelson. It describes what everyone goes through in life with a valuable lesson to be learned. Enjoy !

    There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk

    “I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I fall in.
    I am lost… I am helpless.
    It isn’t my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don’t see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I am in the same place.
    But, it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes me a long time to get out.

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it is there.
    I still fall in. It’s a habit.
    My eyes are open.
    I know where I am.
    It is my fault. I get out immediately.

    walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.

    I walk down another street.”

    Reply to this comment
  20. Dante

    29. Nov, 2014

    Yes! Finally someone writes about click here.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Angelica

    30. Nov, 2014

    Awesome post.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Filomena

    30. Nov, 2014

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  23. Cyril

    02. Dec, 2014

    Hi there, everything is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s actually excellent, keep up writing.

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  24. Ed

    30. May, 2015

    I believe this topic is the center of human evolution, of all our human potential.

    It is amazing that after all, we are surprised by statements like “ego is not an enemy”. As Lolly sais, we need to register where we are to go further, to greatness.

    Of course that Ego is not an enemy, because is part of me. People still trying to get rid of Ego, as I can do it with my hair, or nails.

    Recognizing my Ego and having a great relationship with it, is one of the most effective decisions to transform Ego´s unwanted actions.

    A caring awareness of our Ego´s behavior may lead to my personal evolution to greatness.

    By the way, congratulations Lolly, your messages are very rich to my soul. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Jeff Tombaugh

    08. Nov, 2015

    Well said. Oftentimes we meet people that are so headstrong and full of themselves that they do not listen to anything that anyone says to them. Unfortunately, some of these people end up failing miserably. A very good read and great advice for anyone, not only entrepreneurs 🙂

    Jeff Tombaugh
    Blog Instructor at:

    Reply to this comment
  26. Renaldi Hirawady

    16. Nov, 2015

    Ego is destructive to both self and others. But more importantly the ego is an illusion. That personal identification we ascribe ourselves is a mere mental construct. We made it based on what we belive about ourselves. It is never real. You can even say that Satan is the perfect embodiment of ego. Such is the destructive delusion of ego. To know ourselves is to identify ourselves past our egos. That which lies beyond ego is the universal essence of being.

    Reply to this comment
  27. Imran Ali Rathore

    24. Jan, 2016

    Great work! Learned a lot from it! Stay blessed!

    Reply to this comment
  28. Chuck Bartok

    27. Jul, 2020

    EGO bashing sometime goes too far.
    I was encouraged at an early age in grammar school to understand I was was born in the Image and Likeness of Greatness and my reason for being here is to enhance that Greatness
    Your ego is a good thing.
    You came into this word with it. Just as it did in your early childhood, while it was still developing, your ego even today provides the essential framework through which you understand the world and your place within it, and the importance of sharing that greatness.
    DO not allow Society to influence your belief in Self.
    Self-centeredness is Not the way to go and unfortunmately EGO has been attched to that concept too often.
    Owning ego allows one to effectively listen to others, critically think about the informatin and personally DECIDE how it may or may not affect YOU.
    Having a wel adjusted ego allows one to live an Autonomous Life.
    I was blessed to be educated by brilliant people who undestaood humanity and encouraged the constnt questioning of eveything.

    Reply to this comment

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