You've been told you're special, unique, and capable of greatness since the day you were born--or the day you created a Facebook account. This belief is reinforced everywhere on social media, the TV of our time. The overemphasis and focus on the mystical belief in yourself (not your business/product or solution) creates some unhealthy baggage. This manifests in business and holds entrepreneurs back from success.

Here are four examples of the havoc an unchecked ego can wreak upon your business.

Disclaimer - I've been guilty of all these and I bet we could all tag a friend or two who are guilty of at least one of these.

Ego as a Service

You spend more time on social media fishing for followers than you do refining your business. After all, showing the world how to be more like you is a valuable service and blessing right? Who wouldn't want to be more like you--a genius? This is ego in action. Your more humble competitors spend more time refining themselves and their business. When they decide to increase their social activity, they end up taking your customers.

Your connection to your customers is based on a relationship focused on them getting served, not you. Don't ever forget that.

A Brand That's All Vision But No Substance

You think that the world will recognize you as the difference-maker behind your brand. So you position your brand based on changing the world or revolutionizing the industry. You think this, along with your involvement, naturally makes your brand more desirable by default. Yet you never explain how you serve people in your space. This is ego in action.

Your customers interpret your game-changing brand position as vague and insincere. And you have to work twice as hard to earn their trust. Meanwhile, your more humble competitor positions on a far simpler and easier-to-grasp concept. They offer service in 60 seconds or less. They get trust right away and spend more time closing business while you're still stuck courting leads.

Aiming For Nothing But Moonshots

Screw the small gigs. You're destined for greatness. So you aim for only the moon, holding out for the big deals and white whales. You stretch your resources, banking on hunting the white whale. Your reasoning for this isn't rooted in the capabilities, mechanisms, or assets of your business, just a belief that it's your destiny. To you, these moonshots are only high-risk for other less talented entrepreneurs. You're different.

This entitled mentality usually manifests in making few to no refinements your business. And it leads to falsely assessing the risks involved. When your date with destiny finally arrives, your business is rejected. The big players choose your competitor, who has a portfolio of ever-improving work.

In the wake of failure, rather than review the beliefs and metrics that resulted in failure, you go on a blaming spree. You blame your whole team and take little to no personal responsibility.

You find out the hard way, your thinking was flawed and based on a belief that you were worthy of the opportunity by default. It leads to building a fragile business that can't endure losses or being wrong. Businesses echo the egos of their leaders.

Unrealistic Expectations & Perfect Launches Only

You're working on a product launch for your brand. You're afraid that it won't be a runaway success, and that anything less will mean facing a painful idea that challenges your identity (ego). If you fail to knock it out of the park, you'll have to acknowledge that you're not
a business Adonis or a game-changing prodigy. You're as flawed, ordinary and mortal as all of your followers.

So, you delay your launch to perfect everything. These delays add to your costs, stress, and anxiety. By the time you launch you discover that most of the extra work was in vain. There were some fundamental improvements you could have made sooner had you been brave enough to reveal a more raw product to the world.

Meanwhile, your competitor, who was a complete joke when he started, is on his fifth iteration and is now gobbling up fame and fortune.

These are all real-world results of an ego unchecked in business. The unrealistic expectations, stress, and anxiety associated with an unchecked ego lead to burnout. They keep you from connecting with yourself and the world with sincerity. And ironically enough, that sincerity would directly contribute to your success.

Dare to be more human. Be confident enough to brave the market, wise enough to recognize your mortality, and humble enough to pack a parachute--and take ownership.

Published on: Oct 12, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.