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Courtney Joy Jemison
Wife to John. Mom to two beautiful quarter-Korean babies. CCO at Jonah Digital Agency. Writer on leadership & emotional intelligence. Email:


It’s been the topic of much discussion and research over the centuries and has a wide range of interpretations and definitions. So, to keep things simple, we’ll be exploring it as an element of human behavior and the impact is has on our emotional maturity.

With this in mind, ego can be thought of as a broad-sweeping term used to describe a collection of behaviors and emotional responses we assert in order to protect the self.

If you’re like me, your first inclination is to associate ego with the immoveable, bull-headed aggressor who enjoys lording their superiority over others…

At the end of last year, I was interviewing a young girl for an open position at our company. About halfway through the interview, she posed a hypothetical question to me regarding conflict. She asked, “If I was having an issue with another employee and I came to you for advice or to help resolve it, how would you handle it?

I could tell it was a bit of a leading question. She wasn’t necessarily asking how people in our culture handle conflict. If she was, she wouldn’t have worded it the way she did. …

This year, I’m setting input goals rather than outcome goals. What does that mean? Well, it’s probably best explained by offering a simple example.

An outcome goal could sound something like, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds this year”. Whereas, an input goal might be, “I’m going to wake up early and exercise 5 times a week”.

Here’s why I’m focusing on my input rather than my output.

Reason #1

We have complete control over how much energy we invest into something, but we don’t always have control over the exact return on that investment.

Reason #2

Input goals make action and forward movement…

We live in a time when self-sacrifice is viewed as oppressive and self-obsession is viewed as heroic. We’ve normalized being enamored by the shallowest definitions of identity, not giving a second thought as to whether the decisions and actions we’re prone to have actually been shaped to serve the people around us.

We fill ourselves up on self-help books and take all the latest personality assessments, thinking this keeps us ever-evolving and self-aware. …

I wasn’t my best self that day. I was stir crazy from quarantine, weary from the endless digital communication, and just downright grumpy. I called into a daily meeting and got asked for an update on something I didn’t realize was in my court.

“Yesterday, you mentioned you would get with Ben to talk through this. Do y’all have an update for me?”

Completely honest question and plea for help, right? Well, my salty mood felt otherwise, apparently.

Without hesitation, I snapped back, “That’s not what I said. …

He was the one in a silent and dark gym two hours before the rest of the team arrived. 1 He was the one that made (not just took) 100,000 shots in an offseason to re-perfect his shot post injury. 2 He was the one who stayed on the court hours after the lights when down, the fans went home, and his teammates hit the bars, practicing the same two shots for 75 minutes straight after a devastating loss to the Heat. 3

Kobe Bryant was a master of monotony, relentless about the details. Reading about his work ethic reminds…

As you comb the social media landscape, you’ll hear voices shouting from all kinds of different arenas — personal growth, therapy, leadership, vulnerability, emotional healing, women’s rights — you name it. Having all of these vast perspectives aggregated into one feed can be overwhelming and, in a lot of cases, the information can feel conflicting and confusing.

However, there seems to be a lot of pointed popularity around “self” right now — self-improvement, boundary setting, pursuing goals, self-care, self-forgiveness, and so on.

All of these can be noble sensibilities to give your awareness to and to mature over time, but…

Promotions. Those feel great, right? Outperforming people, getting recognized, receiving a shiny new title, and maybe even a brand new office. This is pretty par for the course in promoting people in most organizations.

Typically, someone is seen for their remarkable output. They’re consistently performing by meeting goals and hitting numbers. For all intents and purposes, this person has earned a promotion. So, a higher-up comes along and sets a new bar above them. This new bar comes with a new title, a new position, and some people to manage. …


It’s a hot topic, perhaps even a celebrated conversation in our culture today. The communities advocating self-care, emotional health, and new concepts like “reparenting” yourself from childhood setbacks, all share boundary-setting as a cornerstone of their messaging. What I love about these communities is they teach people to recognize their self-worth, prioritize their well-being, and boldly pursue their ambitions.

However, some of the prevailing techniques, such as learning to say “no” more often or establishing rules around relational engagement, can lack critical emotional context and truly cripple people’s quality of life.

There’s a better way.

I saw a friend’s…

I recently heard two separate interviews conducted by two well-known and respected business leaders. They both interviewed the same former team member of Google and Facebook on the topic of women in corporate leadership. The interviewee had spent over 15 years in the corporate technology world while hosting a women’s leadership series as a passion project on the side. Both interviews started out on high notes with reasonable facts and appeals for more highly valuing women leaders in the workplace, however both began to descend into leadership perspectives I just couldn’t bring myself to align with.

Let me start by…

Courtney Joy Jemison

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