The magic word

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No, it is not “please.”

It is “ego.”

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who I think are confused, and the primary cause of their confusion is that they believe that money equals motivation.

They believe that people will choose the best value.

That people will buy what they need.

That the best products and services will spread because they deserve to be talked about.

That employees can be persuaded to do things by paying them more and that consumers will buzz something if you reward them with cash.

That once you have ticked all the right boxes, they will succeed.

This is true. Every once in a while.

It is true for people who deep down equate money to ego.

This tiny subset of the population really and truly keep score via cash.

They are rare indeed.

We are constantly on the lookout for someone’s real motivation.

We don’t understand why someone would volunteer at a charity or take a lower-paying job or recommend a cool new CD or post something on their blog or do work that matters without expecting anything in return, mentor someone for free to be more successful than them.

“What’s in it for them,” we wonder.

Here in the world capital of capitalism [yes, I just made that up…] people have fallen in love with the idea that money can feed the ego.

Almost all the time, that is wrong.

Since this is a post about ego, let’s talk about… me. I smiled the other day when I read a review of my blog. It said [paraphrasing] “Like many authors, Roche blogs to sell more books.”

Wrong. Actually, I wrote my first book so that more people will read my blog!

At my book launch, I argued that I think books are okay but not the best way to spread ideas, I was and I’m still convinced that blogs are the best way to spread ideas.

I don’t blog to make money.

I don’t run ads on my site.

I don’t even blog to win awards.

I blog because it pleases me to see my ideas spread.

I like it when I see people talking about one of my ideas, without even mentioning where the idea came from.

That means it is the idea that spread, not my brand. Which is the whole point.

For me, anyway. Not for you or for her or for him.

And that is the tricky part about entrepreneurship and ego.

Everybody feeds their ego in a different way.

The art is in telling a story that matches the ego-outlook of your target audience.

The next time you are in a meeting and someone pulls out a spreadsheet, realise that you are about to hear about money/value = ego.

That’s fine.

But what about everyone else?

Ignore the rest and they will feed their ego somewhere else.

It’s okay. Let your ego push you to be the initiator.

But tell your ego that the best way to get something done is to let other people take the credit.

The real win for you [and your ego] is seeing something get done, not in getting the credit when it does.

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