Monday, August 23, 2010

Ego Vs. Confidence

It's been nearly 8 weeks since that fateful day Midwest Communications took the reigns from Mid-Michigan Radio Group and released me from WQTX (92-X), WJXQ (Q-106) and Tim Barron Mornings this past June 30th. For 10 days prior to that I knew my fate, brought about by negotiations with the "new sheriff" that went south…along with other factors, circumstances and revelations about people and their true intentions.

To this day, many people continue to quiz me about why I wasn't retained. I received hundreds of emails right after it happened asking why I wasn't on the air. Even though I am not under any confidentiality clause or 18-month "non-compete" that my former radio compadres are now bound by with Midwest, I choose not to go into the particulars or "dish" to people the "skinny" about what happened. Instead, I have three things I share with those "inquiring minds" that are consistent across the board: 1.) It was time for me to move on and move forward, 2.) I wish all the best to those I had worked with, and 3.) This is the best thing that could happen to me.

I have been in the broadcasting, media and entertainment biz since I did my first radio and TV appearance at 5 years old. It is something I have always known in my life, something I truly love, and something I have always been successful at. So there was concern that I would take my being unceremoniously "dumped" in a bad way....that my "ego" would take an extreme beating by it and I would consider myself a failure, blame others and follow a destructive path that would only worsen the situation.

Having an “ego” is an important part of character and personality. It is no coincidence that successful individuals from Donald Trump to Muhammad Ali are often imbued with an unshakable sense of importance. They certainly did not succeed by being content with the status quo. They possess that electrifying X-factor that makes them believe that they are better — special even — than everyone else.

As the saying goes, “Everyone loves a winner.” It’s true that people with strong personalities often attract a huge following. But it’s also often the case that people with huge egos are a massive turn-off, especially when their ego clouds their judgment of reality. When the ego gets too big and failures come, there is either denial that the failure actually occurred or blame is shifted to others instead of themselves.

I learned the lesson long ago that having a big ego does not bring true success in life. Having confidence in yourself, who you are, how you treat others, and knowing your worth is what makes for true success. Some of the biggest egos out there belong to the most insecure people...people who will stop at nothing to tear others down to make themselves feel superior. Thankfully in all my years working with such people not a one of them succeeded in tearing me down.

Many times people confuse ego with confidence and vice versa. Some feel that in order to be hugely successful they need to have a huge ego. The fact is that ego and confidence are two separate and opposite things.

Ego describes the self-serving, self-centered part of a person...the "Me! Me! Me!" part that has no regard for others. People that are driven by their egos stop listening to others and stop seeking feedback. They feel that everything is about them, and when something is not about them, they tend to go ballistic. They honestly believe that they are above everyone else and feel the world owes them something..."It's my world and everyone else just lives in it." They ultimately fail because they are unable to see when their conviction turns into recklessness.

The egotist puts results first instead of putting people first. They are caught up in being the "top dog" so much that they fail to recognize others around them that are a part of helping them achieve their success. At times, they are even fearful of success because deep inside they know they don’t deserve it, yet they still claim all the credit for it. Their stranglehold they keep on being "top dog" leads to fear when someone else shows talent and ability in doing what they do just as well as they do...or even better. Thus they do everything in their power to take down those around them they feel a "threat"...either physically, psychologicly or even by lying about them to others to make them look inferior to themselves.

People driven by ego are always swinging widely between being nice and being totally arrogant...almost as if they are bi-polar. They ride a rocky roller coaster of an existence and many times they let demons take over and they go down a path of destruction over and over…drugs, alcohol, abusive behavior and more.

Confidence is different. Where ego is something that we build up in our minds, confidence is something we are born with...a part of our having arms, legs, fingers toes, and so on. Confidence is an innate human attribute where ego is a man-made psychological state of mind.

Having confidence is where you like yourself for what you are and having a realistic appreciation of your own abilities. True confidence is not solely reliant on success because there will always be failures to contend with. Confidence is not a result of comparing ourselves with others either, because there is always someone better. Simply put, it’s about being sure of your abilities without being conceited and arrogant at the same time.

Being confident in yourself takes acceptance that success comes not be cause of what you do solely, but how others accept your success. If you handle success with arrogance, people are turned off by it. However if you handle success with gratitude and thanks, people see your genuineness and you are respected and liked by all.

Although I am “on hiatus” or “on the beach” from the world of broadcasting, there is no remorse, grief, blaming others, or bitterness that blinds me from reality. I am confident that I will rise to the challenge and succeed…not because I feel success is owed to me, but because success is earned.

So you see folks, contrary to what you have been told on the air for the past four years, it’s not all about me. I hope someday that others realize that it’s not all about them either.

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