7 Signs That You Need to Get Over Yourself

7 Signs You Need To Get Over YourselfAs leaders, we can take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes. We’re at the helm of the ship, so we feel like we’ve got to have our game faces on 24/7. We try to portray perfection and embody some idealistic model of the uber-leader.

We take the focus off of our vision and we place it on who we are and what we want as opposed to what our mission really needs.

We trick ourselves into thinking we’re some infallible being and that everything that we do has to fall in line with that definition. This can come from a prideful place. It can also come from an insecure place. Either way, this is an unhealthy way of doing things.

You’ve gotta get this in check before you find yourself at the top of the ivory tower delivering proclamations down to your people like the mighty white wizard…

Here are some warning signs. When you find yourself believing these things, please turn the other way and run back to a more human approach to running your business and dealing with people.

1. The Way People Look Really Matters to You

Does the fact that I don’t wear a 3 piece suit make you not want to do business with me?

Whoever said that clothes make the man was probably a tailor or a custom clothing manufacturer. I would caution you about this erroneous line of thinking. Someone who spends more time optimizing his or her wardrobe than actually doing important work is someone you do not need on your team.

I do believe in grooming and looking presentable/professional, but how much can you really judge a book by its cover? I spend a lot of time in coffee shops surrounded by some of Nashville’s more successful entrepreneurs and creative types; the brightest people in this city.

No shaves. No 3 piece suits. No shiny shoes. Just talent.

2. Your Ideas Always Win

Do you bring justice to the concept of true collaboration in your board meetings, brainstorming sessions, and team huddles? Are you there to find a creative solution to a problem or discover the best way to accomplish a task? If so, then you have to accept the fact that some people will have better ideas than you.

My most successful moments in leadership have come from the times when I could just step back and let my well-developed team do what I need them to do.

3. Your Latest Blog Is The Most Insightful Thing Ever Written

I fall into this trap sometimes. I write an 18 million word dissertation on how much of a “game-changer” Google Buzz is going to be and force feed it to everyone in my organization via Twitter, Facebook, and email. Then, I’ll spend the next team meeting re-hashing the post and quoting myself. Inspiring, right?

How’s Google Buzz doing, anyway?

4. Your Facebook/Twitter Follower Numbers Actually Matter

I’m not talking strategy here. I’m talking about self-fulfillment. A friend and I like to jokingly battle back and forth about our Klout scores. It’s all jokes and fun until someone starts to wrap up their self-worth in these numbers. That’s when it just gets sad. Your influence is not measured by the number of friends you have on Facebook.

It’s easy to fall into that trap both online and offline. Ever give a presentation to a packed house one week followed by an empty room the following week? How did that feel?

5. You Resist Change Like I Resist Wearing Neck-Ties

Pre-face: I’ve sworn off neckties for the remainder of my natural life.

You’ve got too much of your pride and identity wrapped up in your pre-established systems, models, and tools. To change them would be to knock down the very house that you’ve built with your own bare hands.

  • Who cares if our model is outdated?
  • What does it matter if we’re consistently missing sales goals?
  • What good could Twitter possibly do for my business?

6. Your Brand Image is More Important Than Your Brand

This is a scary one. You’ve gotten wrapped up in the packaging of your message. You’re ultimately concerned with being hip and delivering something the world will enjoy, as opposed to something that will change the world. In this process, you let the message become diluted, distorted, and diminished.

Is it supremely important to you that your brand looks like its doing great things?


Is it supremely important to you that your brand actually does great things?

7.  You Call Yourself a Business Guru

Ok. I just threw this one in for fun. But, really… A guru? Seriously?

I might as well change the title on my business cards from ‘Real Estate Consultant’ to ‘The Grand Poobah of Nashville Real Estate.’ Let’s throw a little humility into the mix and at least settle for a slightly more benign superlative like ‘Expert.’


It’s important to be a strong, confident leader, but when we get wrapped up in our own pride, we stop acting objectively. We do things in the best interest of self-preservation, while neglecting our calling and our mission. We focus on ourselves and cast everything else aside.

I’ve gotta get over myself. You’ve gotta get over yourself.

I was feeling a little antagonistic today. What do you think?

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10 Responses to 7 Signs That You Need to Get Over Yourself

  1. Karla Antelli November 15, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Great article, we sure could all use these reminders from time to time! Love that "guru" part.

  2. Joey Strawn November 15, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Mt favorites are numbers 1, 5, and 6 (I have sworn off neck-ties as well, BTW). I think that the "Business has to be super-serious, there is no place for jackassery here" mentality is a leftover relic from the "Fort Business" days that many organizations are still clinging to. Should you take your business seriously? Damn straight you should, but there needs to be a healthy balance in there. It's not an accident that the Google offices have slides and ski-ball and they just gave their employees bonuses and the fact that they are rated one of the best places to work. I'm just sayin'.

    • Kenny Silva November 15, 2010 at 9:09 am #

      Spot on, Joey. We need to take our businesses seriously and do the work that matters, but there's plenty of room in there for acting like normal human beings. If you can't find some way to have fun doing what you're doing, then you probably don't need to be doing it.

  3. cshell November 15, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Cheers on the neck tie thing! I don't even own a suit or sports coat…i'm judged often…then i close the deal.

    • Kenny Silva November 15, 2010 at 10:51 am #

      Talent speaks for itself, Chuck. 🙂

  4. Tyler November 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    Love the list, Kenny. I particularly like the one about putting too much stock in empty Twitter/Facebook numbers.

    While I agree with #1, I know too many people who take this too far. Although the American workplace has become much more casual over the last two decades, appearances do still matter in business. I wish that talent spoke for itself, but I don't think that it always does–especially when working with people from older generations or industries. Also, I'm all for casual, as long as you're still dressing like an adult.

    Having started my career at music magazines and record labels, I wore absolutely whatever I wanted. I would roll into work with wild hair and wearing ripped jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt. Ninety percent of the time this was OK. When I needed an older colleague to take me seriously, though, I was often out of luck. I still dress pretty casually, but it's now adult, groomed casual.

  5. Helen Gaye Brewster October 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Well, I like it! And, I get your point on item 1, but would offer the following.
    Some can optimize their wardrobe and still do important work. It’s equally erroneous to believe that having great fashion sense indicates an inability to contribute and implement great ideas. And,
    You may have overlooked that some of those successful entrepreneurs hanging out in Nashville coffee shops are female because I guarantee that the females (at least most of them) shave regularly and wear shiny shoes, probably with 3-inch heels.

    • Kenny Silva October 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

      Great point, Helen Gaye! I hope I didn’t give the impression that good fashion sense = bad business sense. If I did, then I apologize. The spirit of that point was that the clothes do not make the man or woman. There’s so much more. When we let the clothes define us, we lose our perspective.

  6. Anonymous October 13, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Great post, Kenny. I recenty started focusing some real time into blogging and it’s been easy to fall into trap number three. I feel like if my blog post helped some people it must be for everyone. Definitely not so.

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