First of all, what is it? According to Merriam-Webster:
The quality or state of being proud: such as:
Inordinate self-esteem: Conceit
A reasonable or justifiable self-respect
Delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship
A proud or disdainful behavior or treatment
We really only know pride through little, quick snippets of advice - ‘have some pride in your work’ or ‘don’t let your pride get in the way’. Beyond the sage advice from our mentors, do we really have any idea the role our pride plays in our lives?
Why Should We Care? If pride is good, then indifference is bad. Our pride in our work and communities is powerful. It is one of the most powerful driving forces of our daily actions. We choose to do hard things, take on challenging assignments and projects, often because we want to make those close to us proud. Each time we accomplish our goals or achieve at a high level our pride grows and we’re encouraged to take another risk, tackle another goal. It’s often our pride telling us that we can do it. And when we don’t accomplish our goal or fail to achieve at the level we are expected to, we have regret and sometimes embarrassment. Our pride is also the one telling us that we could have done better - that we’re better than that subpar performance. We have these feelings and experience these emotions because we care - and caring is good. I don’t think anything in the world is worse than an attitude of indifference. Indifferent people have pride in nothing.
If pride is bad, then humility is good. Pride can keep us from learning and growing. It can build such a powerful wall around our ego that we would never dare to let anyone see what is actually going on in there. We hold tight to things we don’t know or don’t understand, hoping others won’t find us out. The imposter feeling you have when taking over a new job is real - and it’s a result of our pride. We hold our emotions even closer, always trying to appear strong and in control. Pride stifles our willingness to take chances, to learn from those beside and behind us, and to explore new ideas. It’s humility that opens the door for those things. Humility asks questions and allows us to go places we’ve never been, fully embracing the fact that we may not find anything … or maybe we will. Humble people are willing to give it a shot.
Pride does seem to be a paradox. The subject of pride is the issue. When our pride is tied directly to people, places, or things we are building our own walls that will limit our impact on the world. And yes, this does include ourselves. However, if our pride is rooted in beliefs and ideas then it becomes healthy and empowering. This pride will drive choices that are anything but indifferent. We will be called to action out of our desire to serve the cause. Pride in our beliefs is precisely what drives our courage and willingness to enact change.
Here are a few thoughts on developing pride that will fuel you rather than limit you.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Identify Your Purpose -
In his book Inside-Out Coaching, Joe Ehrmann posed four powerful questions that can help you to gain clarity on your purpose. They’re directed at coaches, but certainly apply to all professions.
Why do I coach?
Why do I coach the way I do?
How does it feel to be coached by me?
How do I define success?
For me, the last question is the critical one and speaks directly to where your pride falls. Take the time to honestly consider your answers to these questions.
Stick to Your Core Values
It may seem obvious, but your core values - how you want to be remembered by the people closest to you; should be the focal point of your pride. Being proud to live with integrity, for example, has a positive impact on you and everyone you interact with. There are a lot of ways to identify your core values, but what most people dismiss is the need to intentionally live by them. Identifying what you believe is great. Intentionally living by your beliefs is the goal. Establish a system that keeps your values front and center - read them every morning, write them on your mirror, make them your screen saver … Take action, don’t leave it to chance.
Blaming, Complaining, and Defending (BCD) are the three ways we like to defend our pride and ego. Stop doing it. At all. Just stop. It doesn’t help - it weakens your character and is a clear indicator that your pride is tied to the wrong things.
Are you proud of your job because of the company name, your job title, or salary? Or are you proud of your job because of the difference you make in the lives of your customers?
Are you proud of your community because of the name, prestige, or lineage? Or are you proud of your community because of the values and relationships you built while there?
The question isn’t do you have pride - it’s what do you have pride in?
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com. We would love to know how we could help!