Ego Diversification

What does it mean to diversify your ego? Does that even make sense?

In the investment world, diversification is de rigueur. Anyone who works with an investment advisor has heard them talk about the benefits of holding a diversified portfolio. The reasons are pretty straightforward, asset classes typically move differently and when one class is underperforming, another is likely to outperform. The goal, therefore, of holding a diversified portfolio, is to achieve an overall positive return. And, even when a positive return isn’t feasible, e.g. in a significant downturn like we experienced in 2008, a diversified portfolio will still outperform a single asset class that experienced a significant loss, the S&P 500, in this example.

The concept of ego diversification is similar. If we are getting all of our identify, our ego satisfaction, from a single pursuit, what happens when something is not going well with that pursuit?

Perhaps something at work is not going well, a new customer, for example, wasn’t transitioned well and we focus all of our attention on fixing that problem. Our initial instinct often is to double down and laser focus on solving the problem.

  • What is the impact to our self-esteem when our gut tells us solving the problem is going to take a while?
  • What if instead of grinding away, heads down, for weeks or even months, we intentionally spread our attention toward positive situations, time with a happy customer, or time being in service to someone or something that matters to us?
  • How might the “performance” of our lives improve, if we endeavor to diversify our ego gratification all the time thereby creating a “portfolio” of pursuits that together provide satisfaction and joy?

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain