RSPA Recommended Read: Ego is the Enemy

“RSPA Recommended Read” is a series of articles in which RSPA staff members share details from books we think would be helpful to leaders and aspiring leaders at VAR, ISV, and vendor member organizations.

By: Ayana Scriven, Marketing Communications Manager at the RSPA

As a young professional (a.k.a. Gen Z) starting my career as the Marketing Communications Manager at the RSPA, I’ve been encouraged to seek opportunities for professional development. Establishing confidence is key, but how do we manage that confidence? When is it necessary? When is it too much? I sought to answer these questions by reading by Ego is the Enemy Ryan Holiday.

I believe I am far from egotistical, so how do I develop the right amount of confidence for success? This book is a guide that observes the journeys of successful historical characters. Each story reveals how managing their ego influenced their success. Holiday segments his book into three sections: Aspire, Success, and Failure. He says we are in a continuous loop of the three as we work toward a goal.

Let’s dive into key takeaways from the book before I offer a few more thoughts:

  1. Suppress ego early on, so that you’re not wrecked by failure.
  2. “The best thing which we have in ourselves is good judgement.” – Isocrates
  3. Be sure to step back and learn from your mistakes.
  4. Earn your confidence.
  5. “Talent is only the starting point.” – Irving Berlin
  6. Humility is required to maintain success.
  7. Silence is strength.
  8. Choices are really distractions when you know your purpose.
  9. Always be a student. This allows you to be great and stay great.
  10. Don’t be passionate; have a purpose.
  11. Set high standards for yourself. Silence the outside noise.

Visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

RSPA Recommended Read Rating: 9.5/10

Holiday does an exceptional job including diverse examples of successful leaders with big and small egos. From Civil War hero William Tecumseh Sherman to newspaper heir Katharine Graham, each story highlighted ego and successes from various perspectives. The music enthusiast in me appreciated the shoutout to Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and jazz-musician Wynton Marsalis.

How can VARs and ISVs apply Ego is the Enemy? If there is anything I’ve learned in my time with the RSPA, it’s that our industry is continuously evolving. There is no room for ego when there is a new advancement seemingly every day. These three key learnings will help us adapt to the everchanging retail IT channel:

  • Be open to instruction even after success. Find the humility to seek help when needed.
  • Earn your confidence. Confidence is based on ego if there are no accomplishments to stand on.
  • Ego becomes disruptive when you work only to make others happy. Accomplish goals that favor your purpose and make yourself proud.

I encourage you to take a step back, critique your own ego, and ask yourself, “Do I lead with emotion or with logic?” This book proves that the outcomes of level-headed leaders far outshine the outcomes of ego-driven leaders because level-headed leaders lead with well-planned action rather than just words.

Ready to effectively manage your ego? Grab a copy of Ego is the Enemy today.

Don’t forget to visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

Ayana Scriven is the Marketing Communications Manager for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). Ayana has experience in sales and strategic development and has earned her MBA from Claflin University. Ayana plays a key role in member engagement, new member recruitment, event promotion, messaging strategy & execution, and content creation. She also assists the Director of Marketing and Partnerships with execution of demand creation programs and brand awareness. For more information, contact