Saturday, January 24, 2009


Stop. Think. Reflect.

Do you compare yourself with others? Are you a scorekeeper... consciously, perhaps unconsciously?

Do you hate to lose? Do you see losing as failure?
Are you always aware of your image - literally and figuratively and looking to be in the "best light."

Do you hate to look bad and berate people who affect your perceived image negatively?

Are you always looking to see who is on top?

Are you always looking to be rewarded? Do you hunger for recognition?

Are you always on the lookout for conspiracies? Do you buy in and support conspiracy theories?

Do you need to be in control? Do you have mirco-manager tendencies?

Do you have a Teflon coating? In other words, does fault never stick to you?

How does pride affect your ability to lead?

Do you lead with humility or do you lead with pride? What is the difference? Which enhances leadership and which hurts leadership?

Pride in These Times

Our culture is highly competitive. While competition can be healthy, pride can make competition unhealthy. Consider the paradox, competition breeds pride. Pride can destroy good sportsmanship. Aren't those asterisks after well known athlete's records related to pride? Aren't those well known disgraced business leaders and politician's downfalls connected to pride? How is pride affecting your relationships at home, at work, in your community and in the world?

I remember playing racquetball with a highly competitive individual lacking experience to play at my level. The longer we played the worse he played because his pride kept him from learning skills, techniques and rhythms of good play. Instead of failing forward, learning from mistakes, he fell backwards. It became painful to play with him. Immediately after we played, he wanted a rematch as soon as possible!

During these tough times, many of us are examining what and who got us into this mess. Pride maybe preventing us from seeing and understanding our role in this crisis. I believe there is enough blame to go around beginning with ourselves. The greed factor has played a trump card and as a result we have all felt the pain. We compare ourselves to our neighbors and we are always to looking to better ourselves even at the expense of others. We want what we want. We want it our way. We deserve better.

A question I continue to ask, "Whose responsibility is it to lead?" As I have written before, leadership is an act, a verb, a relationship, and a continuous possibility of growth and change. Leadership is everybody's responsibility. Leadership is accountability founded in commitment. Each of us has the responsibility to lead with our gifts, talents and passions. Each of us has the responsibility to serve humankind. Each of us has the responsibility to collaborate in creation.

The silver lining in this chaotic downturn of the global economy is each of us gets to mess with crisis. The Chinese language uses two characters to describe crisis roughly translated, dangerous opportunity. This is an opportunity to explore, evaluate, experiment and challenge our lifestyles. Are you taking more than you are giving? Are your needs and wants skewed? What are you doing to build trust in the community and in the world? Are you perpetuating fear?

Downsizing and rightsizing are dangerous opportunities to create better lives. Pride can keep us from dealing with this dangerous opportunity effectively!

Pride and Judgment

Pride and judgment are neighbors. Like pride, judgement separates and may prevent healthy, positive change. Judgment is supported by my way, my thoughts, my beliefs are superior to yours. Judgment has a monopoly on truth. Judgment hears what it wants to hear. Judgment speaks and acts with righteousness. Like pride, judgement does not listen well. Judgment's mind is made up, so don't confuse it with the facts. Judgement can also cause us to miss dangerous opportunity.

A greater opportunity is to seek to understand rather than judge. Be curious. Ask, "Please tell me more!"

Be curious, not judgmental. Walt Whitman

And while you consider the relationship of pride and judgment, ponder the relationship of pride, ego and greed. These three maybe the Ace, King, and Queen of downfall and destruction. This royal family play off each other. They have a common bloodline and heritage.

Pride and Character

Pride wants to be a stakeholder in our character. Adversity does not create character. Adversity reveals character. Pride does not care if it uses truth, twisted truth, little white lies or big, bold, hairy lies. Unfortunately, when you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself deepening the chasm between reality and perception. Speaking untruths and distorted facts is worse than speaking foul language.

When things get tough, the prideful morph into undesirables. During stressful times, the prideful seek to control, micro-manage and demonstrate unsportsmanlike behavior. Teamwork and community take a hit. Teams, groups and communities lack productivity and create unhealthy cultures. Good excuses for poor behavior and bad character will not sit well with others on the team, the community or the group. Don't let pride prevent you from turning out to be who you need to be!

Pride lands you flat on your face, humility prepares you for honors. Proverbs 29:23 (MB)

Pride and Humor

Pride takes itself seriously. After all, it's all about pride, never about others. Learn to laugh at yourself and not take yourself so seriously! I recall a co-worker who asked during a management meeting if an off site company-get-together could be counted as time worked. His supervisor quickly responded, "Brock, we already pay you not work! You want more?!" All of us around the table laughed except Brock. He shot back that he was underpaid, overworked and felt unappreciated! His unwillingness to laugh at himself became the beginning of his end with the organization. Pride caused him to perceive a comment as a threat! Pride lacks a sense of humor. Pride is always an ouch looking to avoid pain!

Dealing with Pride

Each of us needs to have a regular, ongoing heart-to-heart, face-to-face in the mirror. Recognize the pride factor in your life. What do you do about pride? Seek support, a person or people you trust, who will be honest with you, who model-the-way and walk-the-talk of being unprideful. The ultimate goal should be to learn to choose wisely how you will deal with pride. Learn to push your pause button and think through the consequences of prideful behaviors. Challenge yourself to be the best not just for yourself but for the team, the community, the group and the world.

Experience Pride

Broken Squares learning lab. The objective of this learning lab to create five same size squares, one in front of each of five participants using all the all the resources given to the five participants. The five participants sit around a table. Each participant receives an envelop with geometric shapes. No one is allowed to speak or write notes. No participant may take any geometric shape from any other participant. A participant may give another participant a geometric shape from his or her resources. Once five same size squares are created, one square in front of each participant, participants may talk.

Some key debrief questions include how individuals felt, what they noticed about themselves as well as others and what it took to succeed. This learning lab demonstrates success by what individuals give rather than what they take. How does this relate to pride?

"I can't be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can't be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be." Martin Luther King

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God given destiny... because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment... because you "deserve better than this."
I cheat you of knowledge... because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing... because you are too full of me to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness... because you refuse to admit you are wrong.
I cheat you of vision... because you'd rather look in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you out of genuine friendship... because no one is going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love... because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven... because you refuse to wash another's feet on earth.
I cheat you of God's glory... because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I'm always looking out for you!
UNTRUE! I'm looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don't worry...
If you stick with me, you'll never know.

Beth Moore

Suggested Video

If Everybody Cared - Nickelback (music video, 2005) "If everyone shared and swallowed their pride, Then we'd see the day when nobody died"

'Boundin (Pixar, 2003) Jackalope - Pink? Pink? Well, what's wrong with pink? Seems like you got a pink kink in your think!

Chocolat (Miramax, 2000) Pere Henri (Hugh O'Conor) I think... we've got to measure goodness by what we *embrace*, what we create... and who we include.

Suggested Reading

egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability) by David Marcum and Steven Smith ISBN-10: 1416533273 Fireside 2008

How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living by Rushworth Kidder ISBN - 10: 0688175902 Harper Paperback 2003

Dangerous Opportunity by Chris Musslewhite and Randell Jones ISBN-10: 141343469X Xlibris Corporation 2004

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