April 15, 2020

by Allison Iantosca

No time like the present. New perspective? Odd circumstances? Yup. Finding myself sitting at home with Zoom on mute more often than not. Able to engage in a strange and surreal musing over my fellow remote workers.  A study that can be done because no one really knows who I am looking at or when. I wonder what is really going on for each of us as we join the work of our colleagues?

I wonder about…ego…the mere mention of the word somehow finds me at the age of twelve, right back on the Elmwood Middle School playground. Broken pieces of asphalt under my feet, that inner boing sound those pink dodge balls make when they hit the hard surface before hitting a soft kid. The scratchy brick on my back as I lean against the school wall to protect at least one side of my body and the snickering as the class fancy pants swishes her butt by in her new Jordache Jeans…”Like gag she’s soooo egotistical” we would convulse.

As that was my foundation for ego, I thought I should take a more mature approach to support Executive Leadership clients in coaching engagements, so I decided to look up ego:

e·go, ˈēɡō/ noun – a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

Oh heck, okay, what is self-esteem?

self-es·teem, noun – confidence in one’s own worth or abilities;

Ahhhh. Worth. The level at which I am rated or valued. What is my own sense of worth?

Well, an executive leadership role will take care of that definition pretty handily! There are no short cuts to half scaring yourself to death with a new team, a new client and many millions of dollars on the line. More like the perfect scenario for individual egos to take a nose dive…because confidence comes into question and there are too many unknowns at the outset of a project, a new assignment, or a new position to even begin to value worth or self-importance.

We can only ever reach back into history to create any kind of current platform because we have no idea of what is ahead. We hope that what we know to be true of our abilities will again come to pass but just in case, we slap on some Jordache jeans and swish our butts around a little to make sure everyone knows our self-importance cannot be messed with. Here we are, self-actualized adults still covering up our fragile self-esteem.

But what if we helped ourselves out a little bit?

What if we circle up, no dodge balls in hand, and work through our roles, capabilities, and what we know we can bring to the table that has worth? What if we take the time to understand what drives us, what truths we hold in a polarity, what fears we fight against, what behaviors we rely on that may…or may not…serve us? What if our very worth is based on our ability to be as fully aware as possible so that we have the power to make a holistic choice in each moment?

In fact, what if we insist upon personal development? Coaching support? Making the deep dive a best practice to help our team get the best of us?

I know my own self-worth would have elevated in an instant– ready to offer my best self– if Susie Swishy Butt had turned as she walked past me and said “no one wears those cords better than you” and I knew she was right.

Whoops…I better get back to my call…

Allison Iantosca is a Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) trained coach certified by ICF with extensive leadership and management experience. She is an Executive Coach and is the Owner and President of Boston based FH P

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