Lessons Learned From The Potential Self Destruction of Celebrity Apprentice Contestant Annie Duke

Published on May 7, 2009

You can have some really strong traits that will make you successful in life.  What you have to watch out for is that one weakness that can bring down your house of cards.  Annie Duke, poker champion and contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice, is a great case study of how this can happen.

Annie’s ability to size up her competition enables her to employ strategies that often lead to victory. She is energetic, fun to watch and brimming with confidence. Annie never loses focus of what the goal is and her commitment to winning is second to none. You may say she is the odds on favorite to beat Joan Rivers in this coming Sunday’s Celebrity Apprentice showdown. Not so fast! With all of her great characteristics, Annie Duke has one major weakness which can ultimately bring her down.

That weakness is her outsized ego. There is nothing wrong with having a strong ego. Most successful people have strong egos. But it is Annie’s strong need to always have the spotlight on her that creates an outsized ego that simply turns people off. It is so bad it is actually nauseating. In the last show leading up to this Sunday’s finale, the two teams had to write a jingle for Chicken of the Sea. Annie and her teammate Brande felt completely inadequate facing the opposite team of singer Clint Black, Joan Rivers and Jesse James. There were moments when she really doubted whether or not she could even write a jingle. She expected to lose against Clint Black. She was being viciously attacked by her strong feelings of self doubt. All of us can relate. Yet, to her credit, she did not let it stop her and continued to march on. She did actually write a jingle; a jingle that had pop, a great message and was memorable. They beat out Clint Black! You can say that Annie pulled through like a champion. Until she started to celebrate!

From the moment the jingle was finished, she let loose with a flood of self serving statements:  I can’t believe I actually wrote a jingle; I wrote a jingle that is really good, I wrote a jingle that can beat Clint Black. The number of times she used the word “I” was so high you stopped counting. By my count, there were at least 30 instances. It was nauseating!

By constantly focusing on “I”, she totally ignored and disrespected her teammate Brande. This was a two part contest. Brande helped win the other part. Yet Annie had no room for Brande to share in this victory. After hearing Annie say for 5th time “I”, you started to get sick and tired of her self-serving antics and were now looking for her to lose. Annie managed to take all of the good will she developed during the game and toss it out of the window with her self-serving banter on how great she is. It was so bad she is probably going to go into the final show with a large percentage of the audience rooting against her. She has managed to drive viewers who were on the fence into Joan Rivers’ Camp.

Joan Rivers, the other finalist, is usually not so popular with everyone. You either like Joan or you hate Joan. Annie has managed to move people to her side who now want Joan to win. Joan will get the sympathy vote and she will get the underdog vote. Annie will get what she deserves. As for Sunday’s finale, Annie can still win. She can pull off a major victory that will nullify all other factors. But that means she must win by a landslide. However, if Annie could check her oversized ego and avoid using the word “I”, she would greatly enhance her chances of winning. Too bad she has to start from behind the 8 ball because of her self-serving antics this past week.

If you want to influence others and be an effective leader, the number one thing you need is for people to be willing to follow you into any battle and climb any mountain. If you push them away with your ego, all they will want to see is for you to fail. Very tough to win any game or challenge when your team is hoping you will fail!

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