Pride: A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
I spoke with two very successful men this past week. Both men mentioned that their business partners, who each have 50% equity in the business, have been together for over 30 years. One pair has been very successful in franchising restaurants, whereas the other pair has built one of the largest car dealerships in Georgia. While their steps to success intrigued me, the most interesting question was: "How have you been able to work together with your partner so successfully for over 30 years?"
When I asked this question, both men, without hesitation, responded: "We never let pride get in the way."
For four days now, I have yet to stop thinking about their response. What a wonderful life lesson, thought, and never-ending goal - to always be present - to never let pride get in the way.
Now, to never let it get in the way, doesn't mean to not have any. I believe pride leads us to do great things. I believe pride led Phil Knight to start importing "cheaper, but higher quality" shoes from Japan, eventually birthing Nike; I believe pride led Alexander Graham Bell to find ways to send voice signals through wires, leading to the birth of the telephone; I believe pride led Orville and Wilbur Wright to pioneer aviation, enabling the concept of flight; I believe pride gives Soldiers the courage to defend our nation, enabling freedom for you and me.
But, where pride goes wrong, is when it is manifested through words rather than actions. Pride, referring back to the definition, shouldn't be conceived through others' opinions about you, rather your opinion about yourself, which spurs through output or 'achievement.' No one can define your output or achievement, as you're the one who has managed to get it done, but unfortunately, today, our interconnected world defines it for us.
As I look back on the original quote that the two successful men said to me about their respective partnerships, "We never let pride get in the way," I see it in more simpler terms: 'We never let society get in between us.'
I believe this notion has implications far bigger than business partnerships. I believe you can apply it to marriages and friendships - the two greatest forms of partnerships in the world. If our pride is driven by our own actions, then 'what we deserve' is predicated upon our own standards rather than society's.
Do you agree?