Weekender: Henry Winkler’s Ego-free Decision Making


I’m a big fan of Henry Winkler. If you read this blog, you’ve heard me lament about the Fonz. But Henry has done much more than play this one iconic character. He’s produced numerous television programs (MacGyver, Hollywood Squares, etc), written a line of books for children with reading disabilities, and has never been busier acting (Children’s Hospital, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, etc).

With this resume and his forty years of success, Henry has earned the right to have an inflated ego. Yet, on the Nerdist podcast, he recalled a lesson learned early in his career – the need to take ego out of the decision making process.

I was asked to direct a movie. I read it. Knew I couldn’t do it. Didn’t connect to it. But it was a major studio. It was a big budget movie. I wanted to be a director… ‘But Henry, you don’t want to do this movie. You don’t now how to do this movie. It’s not for you.’ ‘Yeah, but it’s a big studio.’ And I literally beat my instinct to a pulp. I was fired thirteen days into filming.

How often have you battled your inner voice? It’s providing clear direction and for whatever reason, you ignore it. These are the times when we need to follow our instincts. When your gut says to stop, stop. Re-assess the situation. Consider why you are having doubts. It may be nothing, but there’s no harm in giving it a second review.

You may find that your hesitation is merely a touch of insecurity, however another look at the evidence can unveil tidbits you previously missed and/or reveal that your are ill-equipped to take on the challenge. Like Henry Winkler, there are times when we purposefully take on projects that we know are not right for us. Take your ego out of the mix and spend your time and effort on the initiatives that are right for you.

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