Your Brain Is Smarter Than Your Ego

I work with, talk to and read about people everyday who let their ego get in the way of their success. There are even days I allow my ego to get bruised and it keeps me from making progress. Let me share an example:

A few weeks ago I checked my email after spending the day working with clients. I had received three emails over the course of about 40 minutes from a man I did not know.

Email one - He berated me for having the audacity to send him an email; stating that he was too busy to read such drivel. (I did not send him anything. Someone had forwarded him an article I wrote).

About seven minutes later email two – He informed me that I was not old enough to know anything about the world and that I should not contact him again until I was at least 60 as I “might” have a clue by then.

30 minutes after that email three – He told me to take him off my list (which he wasn’t on) and informed me that experts like me are what is ruining the American economy.  

I’m not going to get into defending myself against what he said. I want to focus on the difference between my brain’s response and what my ego had to say:

Brain: Clearly he has more time on his hands than he thinks. I know my expertise makes a positive difference in a lot of people’s lives. He just isn’t the right consumer for my talents. Delete emails. Done.

Ego: I should email him back and let him know how rude he is and that he really does need my work on conflict resolution.

Ego, 20 minutes later: Maybe I am over stepping by sending out articles in an e-newsletter. Maybe people don’t want to read what I write.

Ego, later that night: He was really hurtful. I wonder if I should change how I write so I don’t make people angry.

Ego, the next day: Isn’t funny how sometimes I feel like I started too late to make a difference and that guy said I can’t know anything until I’m 60?

Brain: Why are we still thinking about those emails?

The point is this; it took my brain about three seconds to determine the “feedback” being provided was not valuable and to move on. My ego was angry, hurt, unsure and stuck.  

Here are a few questions to ask yourself the next time you get feedback to make sure it is your brain that is responding, rather than your ego:

  • Is this information coming from someone whose opinion I value?
  • Does this “feedback” include useful content? Too often people say things like, “I don’t like it.” “You can do better.” “This doesn’t work.” That isn’t feedback. It is opinion.  
  • If I implement this information, will it help me get better at my craft?

If the answer to two or more of those questions is “no” your brain knows you can disregard the information and move on.  You ego might need to be reminded a few times.

As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!

Doc Robyn

Thanks to Russ Bruzzano of RGB Design for the graphic - taken directly from the cover of my latest book.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer.  As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills.  She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time.  To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, email her at or call 302-307-3091.

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