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Steve's Life And Business Coaching Notes

September 2014


"Summer Sky and Sunset."*


1) 50 Shades Of Ego - There are so many ways our ego gets in the way of us enjoying our lives, connecting with others and building a good career or business. Here are my thoughts on a few of the most common ways ego shows up in our marketing and life, and what you can do about it.

2) Other Resources - Here is a potpourri for you. First we have a video of Hugh Jackman talking about the importance of listening and a few other skills he picked up in acting school. Then there is an article from Psychology Today about making a good impression, useful to all of us. And finally, is a lovely video of a prominent Sufi teacher answering some of the big questions such as, "What happens when you die" and "Why is there war and suffering in the world"?

3) Last Call - The Affordable, No Nonsense, Learn How to Attract Ideal Clients, Proven Marketing Program Exclusively For Coaches is Starting - If you find yourself wasting way too much time trying to track down clients one at a time, and you want to get individualized and experienced support to set up your business in a way that suits your personality, and attracts far more of your ideal clients, naturally, with high integrity - then check out this long-running, transformational program. We are starting shortly.

1) 50 Shades Of Ego, And How It Impacts Your Marketing (And Life)

In common usage the word ego has many definitions. Here I am simply talking about the behaviors, and the artificial sense of self, that results when our attention is filtered through our habitual thoughts, memories and conditioning and the resulting sense of lack is acted on. When this occurs we are very often anxious, usually seeking something, perhaps security, acceptance, happiness or ways to control the unpredictable world. This ego part of us is always judging, comparing and generally resisting whatever is happening, and always wanting something else to be happening instead. Sound familiar? We all have an ego. It’s part of being human.  

Further, since we all have different temperaments and life experiences, there are many, many shades of ego. For sake of this article let’s look at two common ways ego shows up in our marketing (and lives) that represents different ends of the spectrum.  

Let’s call our first example the “I-Am-The-Center-of-The-Universe” ego. This ego stands out like a sore thumb because it is always focusing attention on itself and is usually making claims of superiority. Typically the marketing expressions of this ego are festooned with self-generated claims such as,  “I am the World’s/America’s #1 _______ (coach/trainer/lawyer/business tycoon/whatever)”. Often this ego’s website and marketing material will be over the top glitzy with movie-star-like photo-shots, intrusive pop-up windows urging you to act now, self-starting videos attempting to manipulate your attention, perhaps a couple of casual photos with celebrities, maybe a shot or two in an expensive car, relaxing in a palatial home or in some exotic locale.  The whole message of this sort of marketing is, “I am ridiculously smart, sexy and successful, and if you want to be like me, buy my product or service”

Does this type of marketing work? Yes it does, on more people than you might think. It seems there is a portion of the world/market out there that resonates with similar values and believes fulfillment and lasting happiness is obtained through the acquisition of more things bright and shiny.

However, I believe, there is a bigger audience that looks at this sort of marketing and reacts with an “OMG” or “Who do they think they are?” or simply asks “Yes aren't you wonderful, but what's in it for me?” And that is a very good question because if the sole goal of your marketing is to inflate or aggrandize yourself in the hope of feeling like a winner and attracting legions of admirers or disciples, you not really focusing too much energy on the needs, hopes, desires, or problems of your market.  Enough said here.

In contrast, the part of us that can get all judgy and holier than thou about this first type of ego, is the subject of our next example.  Because at the other end of the spectrum is the far more common, far more politically correct, “more noble” form of ego that flies under the radar of our awareness and thus rarely gets confronted or transcended.

This ego wraps itself in a flag of humility and trips all over itself in attempts to avoid the limelight.  It always has an "inside" self it is trying to protect, and so it cares deeply what others may think. Inevitably it seeks to play small and avoid the risks of being seen.  All these behaviours stem from an underlying sense of “I Am Not Worthy”, (one of the all-time most common limiting beliefs), although its variations are endless.

This form of ego is a perennial bench warmer in the game of life and tries to head to the nearest side-line in any situation where it finds itself about to step out of its comfort zone. If it had a voice its mantra would be, “you are not ready yet” or "don't let them see how you really are" or “how can you put yourself forward when you are; _________  (such an idiot/so fatally flawed/ too young/ too old/ too ugly/a failure, etc.)” You get the idea, and you can fill in the appropriate blank. In marketing (and life) if this ego is left in charge, you will be miserable and never get anything going.

For every mega ego (first example) I see in my life and business coaching practice, there are probably 50 egos of the second example. And the point is, our egos can take many forms. It can want to stand out, and can want to fit in. It has many strategies to  protect itself, and they all get in the way of making genuine, authentic, connection, being of service, loving and enjoying life. 

Whatever your shade of ego, my best advice is to get over yourself as quickly as possible. It really is not about you. It has never been about you. When you make it all about you, you suffer and are disconnected from the flow of life.

We are all incredibly unique and undeniably common.  Like many truths in life, it’s a paradox. Yet, one thing I can guarantee is that the real you, (the you before the theatrics of the ego), with all your passions, experiences, gifts, failures, sins and lessons learned – is an exact fit for countless other souls out there waiting to be touched, loved, assisted, coached and reassured that they too can move past their beliefs, circumstances and history.  

In marketing (and life) whenever you find yourself thinking, feeling, striving or resisting too much, simply ask, “what best serves the client/world/other” and be guided by that. Always choose to act from intelligence and love and know that the more of yourself you share, the better things get – for everyone.

The Deeper Teaching

You don't want to attempt to rid yourself of ego. That would be impossible and just involve more thought and more effort and a strengthening or, worse, an evolving of a more "enlightened" ego - which would set you off on another futile chase of happiness or security in some future imagined state. Rather you simply want to recognize that what you are at your essence does not need to aggrandize or protect itself. And if you routinely connect with/dwell in/contemplate the simple, everyday, witnessing awareness - in which all thoughts, emotions, perceptions and sensations arise, do their dance and dissolve - you will find yourself out of the grip of ego.

This basic witnessing is not an exotic state. It is not a state at all. It is the space in which all states arise. Even if you have never explored any mindfulness practice, you experience this space/basic awareness everyday. It is there between thoughts and between breaths. In the first moments when you awake out of sleep it is the peaceful, empty awareness that you "are", before the flood of information defines you, orients you, and moves you into action. And the more familiar you become with this place, (it is not a place but we are running out of language here) the less you will identify with its contents, such as the habitual passing thoughts/emotions/reactions of your ego.

This allows you to operate more naturally and effortlessly from love, intelligence and for the greater good. Familiarity with this unchanging essence of what you are, will gradually grow and insulate you from needing things to change or seeking happiness/significance/security in any thing. The ego many never die off completely, but it will certainly no longer be running the show.

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”

- Nisargadatta

2) Other Resources

Here is a lovely video of actor Hugh Jackman talking about the importance of listening, breath, being open emotionally, being present and other things he learned in acting school.

Here is a good Psychology Today article on making a good first impression.

And for the seekers, awakening or awakened folks in the crowd, here is a Youtube video of  Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee tackling some of the big questions, such as What happens when you die? Why is there war and suffering in the world? He talks eloquently on the underlying oneness of life.

3) Last Call - My Affordable, No Nonsense, Learn How to Attract Ideal Clients Marketing Program Exclusively For Coaches Is Beginning Again - No big advertizing blitzes. No arm twisting. No celebrity endorsements. No paying 50% of tuition to get people to endorse the program. No one-size-fits-all solution or death by Powerpoint. No big payments all up front. It is not that type of a program. However, if you are one of the thousands of coaches still wasting your time (and annoying everyone you know) by trying to track down clients one at a time, and you want to get individualized, affordable and experienced support to set up a coaching business that (suits your personality and), attracts far more of your ideal clients - naturally, with high integrity - then you might want to check out this long-running, transformational program.

This program has been around for over 8 years. It is run by me, (a Master Coach who actually has a successful practice beyond the world of coaching) and it is specifically designed for coaches. It is based on the very best marketing practices that have been proven to work for coaches and comes with a satisfaction guarantee.

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(Here is a new video that briefly describes the program.)

Visit Steve at Life and Business Coach Steve Mitten.

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* photo courtesy of Hordur Vilhjalmsson and FreeDigitalPhotos.net .