Leave Your Ego at the Door
Ego is defined a number of ways by psychologists, but in general terms, ego is an individuals sense of self-esteem or self-importance. However, being egotistical is generally considered negative, while having a high level of self-esteem is considered positive. What is the difference? An egotistical person derives his or her self-worth from external factors (feedback from others). A person with high self-esteem will derive his or her self-worth by internal factors (passion, beliefs, or personal vision). It is important to be mindful that we are not seeking external confirmation of our own self-worth when engaging with clients or others within the firm.
Ego can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the person. There are several articles that discuss the next generation of leaders and when discussing ego, they highlight the impact that it has on leadership. Similarly, the JW Way's "leave your ego at the door" is encouraging and reminds everyone to check their ego. But, what does checking your ego mean? It means focusing on the bigger picture and not just yourself. When working with a client, listen to them and understand their desires before coming to your own conclusion or solution. Remaining focused on the values and mission of the firm is crucial.
I read several articles before writing this week's message and one article discussed the idea of leaving your ego at the door in relationship to Cross Fit training. At the end of the article it had a quote that I felt was applicable to our firm:
"CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. It doesn't matter where you finish, only that you finish with integrity and give it a solid effort. Leave the gym better than when you walked in. Head high and be proud, this stuff is hard."-Cross Fit Gym
We all need to put in the work necessary to do our respective jobs, but at the end of the day we should strive to finish with integrity and be proud of our own efforts to continue excelling at a high level.
About the author: Jason B. Castle is a Partner at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He is the President of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, member of the State Bar of Arizona, and a member of the Maricopa County Bar Association, where he chaired the Family Law Section and Legislative Committee. He has expertise in child custody and Decision Making Authority. More recently he was named a Southwest Super Lawyer Rising Star.