Mention the word ‘ego’ and certain images or thoughts tend to come to mind. Usually someone who is arrogant, overconfident, loud or boisterous. Someone like the Wall Street share trader who believes they are the lion of the jungle.
But, by definition, this is not ‘ego’. It is an excess of ego.
The definition of ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. So ego can be a lack of self-esteem as well as an excess.
Over the years of coaching practitioners I’ve discovered a common issue.
The practitioner feels they are ‘less than’ if they don’t get the desired result when treating a client. Conversely, they feel they are ‘more than’ if they do get the result. The problem is one of taking emotional responsibility for the outcome. Do this and you will always lose.
Hang on. Aren’t you supposed to be aiming for an outcome?
Yes, of course you are. You need to have something to aim for to assess the effectiveness of the treatment you provide. And also to improve your skills over time. But you are not all-powerful. And results will not always be what you or your clients seek. The reason is:
- You are human and you won’t always get it right whether it be due to making a mistake or coming across something you haven’t learned yet.
- The clients condition has so many more variables that are outside your control.
Take emotional responsibility for the outcome and a problem may occur
If your sense of self rises and falls dependent on treatment outcomes, this may suggest:
- You think you are more than you are and you are doing your clients a disservice; or
- You think you are less than you are you are doing your clients a disservice.
In other words…
Good results may breed contempt, even a cavalier attitude, causing you to disconnect from the person you are trying to help. Poor results may breed low self-esteem, leading to nervousness, anxiety or depression. Both of these scenarios cloud your judgement and result in your objectivity being compromised. Outcome? Never good.
So what are you responsible for, then?
You are responsible for providing the best possible consultation and treatment you can at the time. You need to leave your ego (cavalier and/or self-deprecating) outside the clinic room as neither of these serve you or your client. Yes, all of us can be nervous at times and lack confidence. When you walk through the door of your consultation room, you need to leave all of that behind. At this point in time you cannot do anything to make yourself better than what you are. You need to trust that you have the education, knowledge and skills required in that moment.
This ideal does not suggest apathy. It does not absolve you of the responsibility to improve. We as an industry need to continually assess our results and search to improve our skills as practitioners to ensure we provide our clients with the best treatment and experience we can. Part of that assessment is to challenge ourselves in areas we struggle, such as our ego. Being the best we can be requires constant attention to all aspects of our practice. But also an acknowledgement that we are human and we are fallible.
Be kind to yourself.
Still strive for growth, by all means. But also know you are the best you can be right at this moment.
Author: Jeff Shearer, Ethical Practice
10+ years helping natural medicine practitioners to greater practice success
(whatever ‘success’ is to them)
If you don’t know where to start or have a particular issue you need help with then feel free to contact us. Together we have almost a half century of experience that is directly related to your practice success.