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The Key to Accomplishing Goals: Moving from Ego to Spirit

Meditating

“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.” ~Glenda Cloud

My life is over.

That’s what I thought when I got the news that I’d lost my job after fifteen years with two sister companies. I loved this job. I was on the road to becoming everything I thought I wanted to be—a Hollywood studio vice president, well on my way to running a studio someday.

I was doing something I loved, developing stories. And now it was all over.

Have you ever had a moment like that? When the end of something in your life felt like the end of your life? You’re not just being overdramatic—when we lose a job or relationship or role, we do experience loss. So how do we pick ourselves up and move on?

For me, even though my Hollywood job had ended, in a way it was Hollywood that saved me, too. I realized that I needed to shift my perspective. Losing this job wasn’t the end of my story; it was the difficult middle.

Think of all the movies you’ve seen where, at the midpoint of the story, the hero starts to run into some serious obstacles. It’s at this moment when she starts to see the weakness in her approach to her problems.

She has to go through an “all is lost moment” before she can reach the “aha” moment when she realizes what she really has to do to achieve her goals.

In the best stories, this moment represents a shift from ego to spirit.

For example, in The King’s Speech, it’s not until our hero Bertie’s brother gives up the throne, forcing Bertie to do the thing he fears most—speak in public—that he changes his perspective.

Instead of focusing on his own ego and his fear of humiliation, he learns to focus on leading his people. When Bertie makes this shift from the ego to the spirit, he realizes how achieving his goal of conquering his stutter is really about serving others. 

When I looked at losing my job through the lens of story, I realized that I, too, had been too attached to my ego.

I was so focused on that end goal of running a studio someday that I’d become blind to the way my work was affecting me on a spiritual level.

I had started doing things that went against my true values. I had stopped listening to my colleagues, because my ego didn’t want to hear anyone else’s ideas. But my story wasn’t over—this was just the difficult middle.

Changing my perspective would change the story of my life.

When you hit obstacles in your life story, you may find yourself humbled. But at that moment you have a choice: will you stick with your old ego-driven perspective, or will you transcend it? Is your story over, or is this just the difficult middle?

When you experience this kind of loss, putting your ego aside will help you figure out the next chapter in your story. There are three steps involved in making this mental shift:

  • Recognition
  • Action
  • Accomplishment

Recognizing that we’ve been driven by ego is the first step toward resolving the problem.

Understanding how my attachment to ego had led to the end of my job helped me pick myself up and redefine my goals. I decided to use my experience to help others achieve their dreams, instead of continuing to strive for personal gain. 

Once you’ve recognized the role of your ego, you need to take action to change the direction of your story.

Let your spirit guide your actions instead of your ego. Instead of focusing inward and dwelling on your loss, reach outward. Redefine your goals to make them more about connecting and serving others.

I’ve found that pursuing a goal that’s about connection to others is much more fulfilling than pursuing a goal that’s about glorifying my ego. I believe if you find a spirit-driven goal, you’re more likely to feel like you’re moving toward a happy ending.

Spirit-guided action will actually make it easier for you to accomplish your goals. When we’re consumed by our own desires, we don’t allow room for other people’s perspectives. We don’t see how our actions might affect others. Other people become obstacles instead of potential partners.

True communication with yourself and with others will put you in harmony with your spirit and the world around you. Acting out of this harmony will create the momentum you need to achieve your goals.

Let the obstacles you face prompt you to reevaluate your goals. Is your spirit setting your agenda, or your ego? How will letting go of your ego help you connect to others? How might that connection change the way you define your intentions?

When we feel connected instead of isolated and detached, we transcend our own small egos. And just like the heroes of our favorite stories, when we transcend our own perspectives, we ultimately find greater fulfillment.

If you look at your life as a story, you’ll see that obstacles push you toward growth. That loss or change isn’t the end of your story—it’s just the beginning of your new chapter.

Lori’s Note: I was thrilled to interview Jen Grisanti for my first ever eCourse. Learn more about the course, Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the Hero, here.

Photo by Darren Johnson

About Jen Grisanti

International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, former 12-year studio executive, blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the books, Story Line and the upcoming book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life.

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  • When we are dealt a hard blow from life and we fall down, it is difficult to get back up and start again. Kudos to you that you could re-calibrate your goal and strived to achieve that . Thanks for sharing your story here. It inspires all of us to persist towards our goals in face of hardship.

  • Mahesh Sahu

    Message given by this article is that you transform your goals to connect to the society. It should be motivated by good spirit not by ego then you will be in peace. It is not just persistance for the old goals in difficult times.

  • Angela Lam Turpin

    This is EXACTLY what I needed. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom.

  • growthguided

    The cunning and baffling Ego creates incredibly powerful stories that are so difficult to detach from! Thank you for sharing your post!

    Check out the post I wrote yesterday about the destructive powers of an Ego.!

  • Jen Grisanti

    Thank you so much for your comment! I am grateful. I will check out your post. Light, Jen

  • Jen Grisanti

    Angela, Thank you for your post. I love to hear this. It is amazing how messages come when we need to hear them the most. Light, Jen

  • Jen Grisanti

    Braja, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am very grateful. I wish you lots of continued success. Light, Jen

  • Jen Grisanti

    Mahesh, You are absolutely right. Light, Jen

  • Mary Godfrey

    The most difficult story for me has been to let go of the patterning of the one imprinted on me as a child even though it is already gone because I lived through it – it has been the veil (i.e. the evil) that has blocked the realization of heaven or Shambala and all of the joy intended in living – so I have learned to used Mantra’s which can scientifically ( energy and matter are interchangeable) re- create in my physical memory body- and heartfelt prayer coupled with seeking higher knowledge and wisdom and this has made me even grateful for all of my losses- which in the end of course are our greatest teachers, if we do find other masters and overcoming grace, (energetically and in understanding) on our path to our own personal path of salvation which may lead the way for another . We are all connected in spirit) to embody these masters (like Buddha’s) truths for ourselves until our own final curtain call. In that may I say before that time comes , for this unwanted visitor ,sometimes we may each think that we wish for death too soon, but it is not death that we desire, it is this fulfillment which is all of our divine right ,which we can only each find independently not from premature death and destruction, that is an illusion, but by living forever. Blessings MaRay

  • Mary Godfrey

    The more we can get back up the further up we will go.

  • Susee

    I read your message and was thrilled by it actually. Been my philosophy for my adult life as I faced numerous challenges that I have mostly managed to bounce back with effort, looking for luck, taking risks and so on… till now. Am I still feeling sorry for myself… probably. In a motor vehicle accident I have lost the function of my dominant right arm. Now this would not be such a big issue but the pain! omg after half hour exertion I can’t breath as the stabiliser muscles struggle simply to hold my arm up and my intercostals are effected.

    Where to from here? I have developed social anxiety, PTSD, adjustment disorder (depression) and I can’t see a path forward. My children are grown… so how do I grow old with my beloved husband? … our retirement plans of travel are out of the question. I tolerate 1/2 hours maximum ambulant before I am short of breath.

    So yes it feels like my life as I know it is over, the future is a fog and I do one day at a time… slowly.

    So … my thoughts are… this philosophy is fine unless health is an issue.. gosh how we take it for granted that we can be active and energetic… and forget or ignore … those who can’t. Love your post Jen, wish I could follow your wisdom…. or maybe the time is not right… yet.

  • lv2terp

    Beautiful message! Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom! 🙂 I love this…”True communication with yourself and with others will put you in harmony
    with your spirit and the world around you. Acting out of this harmony
    will create the momentum you need to achieve your goals.” 🙂

  • Jen Grisanti

    Thank you so much for your beautiful post MaRay. We are definitely in alignment with our thinking. I like how you have worked through your own story. This is the journey. We are all in the midst of our character arc of growth. It is how we respond to our shifts that define us further. Thank you for sharing your story. Light, Jen

  • Jen Grisanti

    Susee,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about the obstacles that you are currently facing in your life. I completely understand why you feel the way you do. I wish lots of love and light with moving through them. Namaste, Jen

  • Jen Grisanti

    I love the way that you see this. It is always a gift to hear a reflection that matches the intention. Thank you for this. Light, Jen

  • Shilpa

    It’s funny how, when you truly need something, even if they are words, they come to you through the most surprising places. I’m just starting out as an actor and I’ve recently had a moment when I felt that i let go of the ego and the superficial and started to follow my dreams for changing lives through stories instead of changing my life through fame, success, etc. It’s not made me infallible or super confident or even all that different from my ego-driven self, but I don’t takes hits anymore, I’m able to let all the right things and people come to me instead of trying to manipulate and change everyone. It’s just a release and it feels good to just be. Knowing that you were such a big part of Hollywood, I could totally comprehend your struggle on a core level. Everyone here comes with the plan to make magic and then gets bedazzled by the unfortunate ground rules laid by the less artistic and the ego-driven megalomaniacs. It takes a real aha moment to be able to see through that glitter and allow yourself to seek a better purpose through your work. To allow yourself to still want to show people great characters and great stories without costing yourself your innocence and goodwill. Thanks for this post. I will definitely pick up a copy of your book.

  • This is a common pitfall and a difficult one to beat. It takes so much self-knowledge to understand WHY we do it and HOW to go about reducing that self-imposed stress. Usually, sadly, it comes after a moment of burnout.

    Great topic and I’m glad there are others out there who go through something similar.

  • kris g

    I lost my job six months ago and I was devastated. In short my employer was unprofessional and was too cowardly to tell me in person he was letting me go. My two week notice was a hypothetical email to those in my workplace. As I search for a new job, I hope to correct any mistakes I made in my part. It gets so hard sometimes, as the mark of my old job and their treatment of me was a nightmare. By moving to a spirit guided mind, I know I will eventually find a place that I can help gods people the best.

    Have a blessed day everyone …

  • great stuff jen! moving from ego to spirit is a fantastic re-framing to add value to your goals and ambitions in that your achievement inherently adds value to others before yourself.