One of the biggest differences between ego and self-esteem is that, on the whole, the former leads to a more positive, confident and successful existence while the latter generally creates one that is plagued by a great deal of insecurity and a great deal of fear. In most cases, the one who possesses higher levels of ego tends to think himself to be the center of the world to the one with higher levels of self esteem believe that he is but a part of that world. So, who’s right? Does one possess more self-esteem or does the other?
This is the reason why we are often advised to “not look at the glass half-full” or to consider the possibility that a glass that is half-full may in fact have a half-filled glass. It is this tension between the two that can be exploited in order to arrive at an objective judgment. For example, consider yourself in an ideal situation. You are starting off with a brand new business venture, your sales are through the roof and you are having a grand time doing it.
But as the weeks go by and your profits keep on going up but your employees keep on complaining and your clients keep on being late, you will begin to wonder if perhaps this is all a little bit disconcerting. It is at this stage when you start pondering over the situation and wondering if perhaps you might have made some wrong decisions. When you are in a similar position to the one in the above scenario, it is natural for your ego to come into play and to either criticize yourself for not having enough self-confidence, or to criticize others for the same situation. Either way, both of you will be greatly disappointed.
Now consider the same situation but this time where you are the only employee in the company. You have been working hard all week and now, after a very tough round of negotiations with your boss, you get the boot. Suddenly you don’t have enough self-esteem vs. ego to believe that you can negotiate with any amount of reluctance. Or perhaps you did, but were found out and terminated anyway. This situation would have the exact opposite effect on your ego.
It is important for you to know that there are different kinds of people in the world. One of them may be your competition. What kind of person do you want to be compared to? When you are striving to build self-esteem and when you are trying to build your ego, make sure you are always on the look out for your competition’s moves.
For example, say that you are a great negotiator. However, your co-worker has just told your boss that they would be moving to another department within the company. Your ego has already kicked in and you are ready to pounce and prove that you are the greatest negotiators in the office. So you tell your boss that you will help them relocate, but if your request is granted you will have to pay them half of the relocation expenses. Then you show your new boss that you can pay them both because you negotiated the deal. All this sends a message that you are the better negotiator and that you can successfully get the deal done.
Now imagine yourself negotiating a different scenario. This time you ask your co-worker to relocate to a department within the company instead of across town. You tell your boss that if they offer you half of their relocation expenses you will agree to take that amount. Again all this sends a message of confidence and self-esteem. In fact, by acting in such a way you are proving to your ego that you can handle difficult situations.
The same principle is true when negotiating any type of tough negotiation or conflict. If you think that you are going to have a rough time getting a particular deal done then you should use the “what if” technique. For instance, if you are negotiating a raise of salary for your position then tell yourself that if you do not negotiate a deal that raises you to the next level then you will be disappointed and this will reflect on your performance. Act accordingly by making sure that you are well prepared for the raise by performing a few minutes of self-talk that reaffirming to yourself that you can negotiate a good deal. Once this is in your mind and you start negotiating you will find that your negotiating skills come much more naturally.