The Ego Bling Episode - Christine Kane

Any time we make a change, prepare to uplevel, have something new to implement … our fears come up, our ego gets mouthy, and our mind starts playing tricks to keep us comfortable and in a place where we feel like we know what we’re doing.

Today, I’m reading a passage from my book, The Soul-Sourced Entrepreneur, that is perfect for any time we’re about to embrace transformation. It’s called “The Bright, Shiny Intention Killer: Ego Bling,” and it’s a deep dive into what makes our minds resistant to change and the ways our ego tries to sabotage our upleveling at every turn.

I’ll explain what Ego Bling is. Offer advice on how to avoid its pitfalls. And I share my own story of how hard it was to let go of something my ego got super attached to, despite how unhappy it made me feel. 

I also take a break from reading the passage to share some real-time stories of clients who are going through it right now with all these changes in the world. And one about a particular person who got really triggered by this section in the book.

Plus, I’ll share a bonus tidbit about an interaction I had with my editor after he read my Ego Bling section for anyone into a behind-the-scenes look at the ego-bruising work involved in writing a book.

Episode Transcript

Intention can feel like a threat to your very identity, especially if you’ve accumulated a nice collection of ego bling.

Welcome to The Soul-Sourced™ Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative, secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Welcome to episode number 44 of The Soul-Sourced™ Business Podcast. I can’t believe we’re at episode 44. I was only going to do about 26 of these. I figured a half a year and I’d be done. So we’re coming up on the year anniversary and I feel like I should do something special. Like I don’t know, dance in the streets naked. I have no idea, I’ll think of something. I promise. I’m a marketer. I can do this. Today, I want to talk about though, uh, something I’m seeing where, uh, right now we’re in the midst of so many changes in our world and in how we do business and in how we grow business. And I have the unique honor of being able to work with entrepreneurs, both in my CK On Call, It’s a one-on-one private access program to me, and also in my mastermind, which is called M Club.

And as I work with people, there’s a lot of mindset stuff that’s coming up right now, especially in this time where, okay, it looks like the world is sort of getting normal, but it’s not really normal. And I’m not sure what to do, but I know I need to make some changes. And when it comes to doing changes in our business or upleveling our business in any way, there are different ways that our mind likes to step in and stop us in our tracks. And depending on what your unique patterns are, and this is why I teach the Enneagram, and in my program, The Enneagram and The Entrepreneur, I talk about where these patterns come up in our businesses and, and stop us in our tracks. But depending on, no matter what your pattern is really, I think the mind kind of does its own little tricks and wants us to not change and wants us to not grow because growth, change, pivoting, whatever you want to call it, brings up a whole bunch of uncertainties and uncertainty in and of itself is a bit of a myth because everything’s uncertain. I mean, it’s a myth, not because it’s in and of itself a myth, everything is uncertain, but it’s a myth to think that anything ever was certain.

And so when it comes to changes in business and upleveling, there is a part of my book, The Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur that speaks to intention, but I also think it applies to any time we are about to embrace transformation, change, upleveling, doing something different in our business, because the ego fights hard and I’m sort of mixing up ego and mind as the same thing. Most of us don’t even really know what ego is. We know the effects of it. We know the effects of our mind, and we like to refer to it. But many of us have not really explored, what is this thing? What is this persona I created? So I’m, I’m lumping them up and we’re not going to go into existential dialogue about what is ego, but it matters in business because a part of being an entrepreneur is moving forward. And I don’t necessarily mean driving forward or being aggressive or elbows out and shoving your way into dominance. That’s not it at all, but we are always shifting and changing and growing, and I think that is where the Soul Track of business, what I call the Soul Track of business, what you may call mindset. This is where I am. So in love with coaching people in their businesses, because we each hit these points where there are ceilings like I’ve done enough or I’m okay. And why do I have to keep moving forward? And we have so much resistance that comes up.

So what I wanted to do in the spirit of all these changes that many of us are making right now is I’m going to read a little section of my book that is placed in the entire part one section on intention, but really it applies to any time we make change, anytime we’re going to up-level any new thing we’re about to implement. And that’s because what tends to happen in those moments is that all of the fears come up, the mind comes up, the ego comes up, and this is a section on, um, what I call ego bling. Ego bling are the little things that we think are important that keep us feeling important. That keep us feeling like we’re certain. We become very, very attached to these things and I call them bling because they’re not very important. And yet they become very important.

As soon as we start to say, I’m going to make a change. I am going to do it exactly the way I want to do it. Or a lot of people are facing in their business, a shift to what matters most, who they truly are. And that comes after a long period of stillness and silence and quiet and not being able to distract. And when you really, really drill down and you really, really see what matters to you, what you may be letting go of is some of what I call ego bling. And so this is in my book, it’s, it’s a section on how we kill intention, but I would say it’s also how we killed transformation. And it’s called the bright, shiny intention killer, ego bling.

And for those you who are interested in a little bit of the background on writing a book, I, I overwrote this section just a little bit. I overwrite everything. And I would say probably some of the critics of this book might say overwrote this book, because there’s a lot to it. And I’m going to share one little thing for those of you who liked the, the little behind the scenes, writing tidbits about writing a book. And this section here is all, it opens with my own story of how I had to let go of something I was very, very attached to. My ego was very, very attached to, even though I was not happy, like I was not happy at this job, but I work at Ogilvy and Mather. And when you have this sort of like big name behind you, you can often hide behind that big name. And that’s what I was talking about. But in the story I’m talking about showing up at my auto mechanic location, which I’ll go into, but I also mentioned that I had a Ford escort. And one of the little pieces that I had written in this little section was how, when you have a Ford escort, I said something like when you go to your auto mechanic, let’s face it every two weeks. And I thought it was a very funny line and my editor totally struck it. And it was, there was no ceremony. He didn’t say, yeah, this was funny. But it was like, no, this is not funny. You’re not funny. This is not great. All of this is to say that we, we all have those moments of just like, I think having a business, writing a book, everything is literally about setting the ego and all the ways you think you’re brilliant and funny and wonderful aside, and just moving forward and letting the editor know, like letting the editor be the boss here.

So here we go.

One morning, days after I had made my bold move and gave my two week notice at Ogilvy and Mather, I was in the Ford dealership service department, getting my escort repaired. The head mechanic, Phil, handed me a long intake form that included fields for name, date, phone address, social security number. And then, there it was, a blank field, with the label, employer. In that moment, I didn’t remember my clear intention of becoming a songwriter. I didn’t remember all those letters I’d written to God. I didn’t even know what a dream was. In that moment, the employer field sent me into an identity crisis. Without that prestigious employer name to back me up, who was I? Strangers would no longer find me impressive or even worthy. Farewell raised eyebrows. Hello blank stares. My heart pounded. My breathing got shallow. I was having a mini panic attack under the green glow of the fluorescent lights. While four people behind me waited their turn.

Now here’s where you, ever the rational thinker when comes to other people’s lives, might say, wait a minute, Christine, you’re willing to turn your back on your dreams and your future so that Phil, the head mechanic at Koons Ford in Fairfax, Virginia, will look at your service contract and find you impressive? Yes, I’d say that’s exactly what’s happening here. I’ve seen clients clinging to bigger and smaller imaginary items at similar moments of intention. Their regional director title, their club membership, the company car, the special treatment they get at the airline counter because they earn so many frequent flyer miles going on business trips they despise. Their platinum status in the Marriott hotel chain, or even a rent controlled shoe box sized apartment on the lower West side that lets them feel somehow superior to all the suckers paying current New York city prices.

So, yes, at that particular moment, Phil was the gatekeeper of my entire identity, and no it mattered not at all that he probably A, didn’t care. B, had never heard of David Ogilvy and C, which is the most likely, never once read a word of these contracts. Intention can feel like a threat to your very identity, especially if you’ve accumulated a nice collection of ego bling. The sole purpose of which is to prop up that identity with perceived status. This then becomes the high stakes reason you can’t move forward. The fear that you’ll lose that phony, but reliable sense of self.

And I’m going to interrupt my reading here to say this is what I’m facing with a lot of my clients who have achieved a certain level of success. I mean, I work with clients who have six and seven figure businesses, multiple sevens, multiple six, depending on where they are, and in the face of really, really looking at the Soul Track of their business and really, really looking at what they’ve come to realize about who they are, especially during this pandemic in all the stillness and silence it created, and they start to see who they truly are. All these things that seem to mean so much to their egos, this status that they worked so hard at propping up, it starts to mean less. And what they’re having right now is a bit of an identity crisis because they’ve gotten very attached to how people see them. Like, no one’s going to find them impressive if they cut their team down, no one’s going to find them impressive if they aren’t launching like a maniac. Their team isn’t going to find them impressive. If they aren’t working 24/7. It’s all of these little rules in ways we’ve become conditioned to say, this is who I am. And I’m going to add one more thing here, I’m still not reading, and that is that I, I have had people get really, really triggered by this section.

Um, one person in particular thought I was pointing at her and that’s not at all the case. That’s why I opened with my own story of this, and that is that we cling to things that are big. We cling to things that are small and all of it is basically the ego or the mind, whatever you want to call it, telling us that you won’t be anybody or you won’t be able to create anything different or you can’t shift this thing that you do. You don’t get to be more real. You don’t get to be more you. You’ve reached the, the quintessential peak of your status, and this is all you get. And I’ve been through there through all of it. When I, when I did work at Ogilvy and Mather, I was the one who had the rent controlled apartment. I was in the heart of Georgetown. It was wonderful, and I didn’t want to let it go, and I didn’t let it go. I got a, I got somebody to sublet it from me, who ended up destroying the whole place. I’d moved to Asheville, I’d moved on, but I was still holding onto that thing. And it, it unceremoniously got torn apart by the person who was living there. And I had to go back and I spent a whole lot of money fixing it up and then coming back to Asheville with my tail between my legs, but also recognizing that the universe was basically saying to me, there are bigger things that you can’t even imagine that are possible for you right now.

And so I’m going to go back to reading.

Here we have the final call of intention, the call to choose what’s real. Like what’s most real here? Is it all this ego bling you cling to whether or not you’re perceived as special, important, or reputable by your mechanic or the night manager at the Chicago Ritz Carlton, or is it who, you know, to your core, you’re meant to become? How you answer this is everything.

And I’m calling this out right now because so many people I’m working with are facing this. And this is not something you answer from your brain. This is something you know, to your core, and you can fight it to the death, but it’s still going to keep calling you up and out. And now I’m going to go back to reading.

Know this, initiating intention and following through demands your energy. Sometimes it means you’ll have to shed baggage that’s been holding you back forever, or you’ll have to say no. Or some people won’t like the choices you make, or they won’t like you. Some of those people will walk away. Others will tell you you’re nuts. Others still, will tell you your intention won’t work. While it can at times feel as if you’re playing a game of whack-a-mole with intention blocks, the true game here, is all about awareness. Witness, all the ways your mind and your ego find to play tricks on you. Not only with intention, but in every stage of the Soul Track, and then understand that you can let these derail you, as you always have, or you can use them as opportunities to break a pattern and anchor more deeply to your intention to get clearer.

Even the smallest of intentions can unearth these blocks. It’s why so many people settle for bad employees and say yes to invitations they have zero interest in. Clarity can feel like a real effort when you’re face-to-face with unconscious forces that have up to this point, ruled your life. Consistently being clear so you make decisions that support your intention is a non-negotiable part of your job as an entrepreneur. And I will also add as a creative as well. When we use the practice of intention as a way to build a strong relationship with our clarity, we not only build strong businesses, but we become powerful creators, and that is an endless source of confidence.

And I’m going to leave this there, because even though in that particular instance, I’m, I’m really speaking to the, the, the part in my life where I was first choosing to become a musician. And for, you know, three or four years after that moment, I quit. I was a, nobody like I, I, even my first few years of playing music, like it was truly a nobody. And, and I, it grew, yes, and I don’t even know if I even became a somebody because I was still a nobody in many people’s eyes. But the point being is that this whole thing that we have revolved around our identity and how we prop up our identity with these, these items and these ego bling items. And we get so scared of how we will now be perceived If we make a preference or have a choice that’s clear and more true to us. That is where I, as a coach, I have to really work my way in using energy and using Enneagram and using Colby’s and all the things that I use, because I see people right now really fighting with themselves saying, well, this is what’s true for me, but this is what’s always worked.

And that’s what I think is, is kind of falling down all around us. And most of us don’t want to face the unknown and the, that feeling of kind of deflation that comes when you let go of things. When you let go of an employee, when you let go of, you know, whatever it might be, that, that, you know, inflates you up. And what I can say from going through the process of doing it, doing this over and over again in, you know, now what 27 years of working for myself, uh, is that you start to realize this is the game of the ego, and that’s all it is. And in the end, the things that we think are who we are, are truly not. And that who we are as much richer, much more multifaceted and much more authentic when we just strip away to the core, which is really the gift of what’s happening right now, even though there are many hardships for many people at this time, but if you let it be, it can really strip away the non-essentials and show you who you truly are.

And with that, I will say, thanks for listening to The Soul-Sourced™ Business Podcast. It is such an honor for me that some of you write me and you let me know how important these episodes are to you and it is my honor to be able to guide people in a way that’s true and authentic. And if you like this podcast, love this podcast, I ask that you leave it a review and write something kicky, or write something real and let me know. And, um, I really appreciate it. And I will see you guys next week.