Your Ego is Not Your Friend – by Dave Cooke

The one thing that I learned about ego is that it is our ultimate survival tool.  The more pressures, challenges and threats we face, the more likely we are to rely on the survival skills of our ego to save us.  The problem is that our ego is the one thing that prevents us from effectively sharing and engaging in a way that may actually save us from our distress.

I have been reminded more than once about my strong ego.  I confused that observation as a compliment.  Then a close advisor explained to me that having a strong ego was not a great trait.  What they shared with me was a different message: “You have a very strong ego and it is your ego–the need to be right, to be in control, to win, and to be good–that prevents me from engaging with you at a level that we both can enjoy and benefit from.”

If survival is your goal, your ego can probably protect you–to a point.  However, if you are looking to succeed and thrive in the face of a monumental personal or professional challenge, your ego will likely destroy you.  I struggled with the attitudes of others when, faced with a calamitous experience, they weren’t receptive to the ideas, solutions, and insights of others.  These people seemed determined that they could find a way out of their mess on their terms.  What was getting in their way was their ego and their sense that others didn’t really understand what was going on.  Instead, they were relying on their survival skills to hang in there–in essence going nowhere despite all the opportunities to engage and flee disaster.

Under intense pressure, your ego and your survival skills are not your friend.  It is your ego that erects and builds walls to protect you from the outside forces that threaten you.  However, it is these same walls that prevent you from accessing the resources you need most in the time of crisis.

I have learned, and continue to discover, that being receptive, open, honest, authentic and humble provides me access to people, ideas, resources, and gifts never before realized–especially in the times of greatest conflict.  The reason that I am enjoying these gifts is that I realized the role my ego was playing in my life at times of greatest stress and pressure.  While I believed it was the only way I could survive what I was going through, I have now discovered that my ego was actually preventing me from discovering the resources and solutions to my very challenging issues.

In the face of adversity, the key to discovery is having the humility to be vulnerable, to ask for assistance, and to trust your resources.  These are the people that will guide you through your challenge and will educate and enlighten you in the process.  Remember, in adversity, your ego is not your friend–your trusted resources are.


Dave Cooke is the CEO of Strategic Resource Group, LLC and a nationally recognized speaker, author, trainer and growth expert. He leverages his 25 years sales and marketing experience to create and implement strategic initiatives and develop educational programs which increase both revenues and profits. His approach brings refreshing insight and enthusiasm to the current trends and complexities of today’s business environment.   And, these experiences drive incredible results as his model consistently delivers a 20% improvement in profitable growth for his clients. You can connect with Dave at, his Twitter Pages–@salescooke & @100pedalsLinkedIn, or email him at

Please take a quick perusal at “Dave Cooke’s 100Pedals Across America Spring ’13 Tour,” which was posted on this site November 7, 2012.