Have you ever had a moment when someone makes a statement that stays with you for days? Well this occurred for me as I sat in a room of trainers I greatly respect. We were all sharing how we felt about a recent training we had delivered to a group of about 500 people. As each trainer shared, you could feel the excitement and the sense of accomplishment. The energy in the room was electric! Once we were finished our shares, one member of the group made a statement that has since stayed with me. He said, “I hear a lot of you using the word pride, this company is not built on pride, it is built on humility.” As he made the statement it was as if time stood still. I could feel the energy shift and for a moment it felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room.

Is pride a bad emotion?

I remember sitting there and feeling embarrassed. I had been one of the individuals who had used the word pride. After the feeling of embarrassment subsided, I suddenly became angry. Then I moved from anger to confusion. I felt myself withdraw from the conversation in the room.  My inner voice began a loud and rapid dialogue. I began the OH sooo…. familiar self talk, which had me disconnected from the conversation occurring in the room. “Why could I not feel proud,” I questioned. “Is pride a bad emotion? Can I not be proud and humble at the same time? Was it arrogant and egotistical of me to feel proud of myself?”

I felt even more embarrassed like a child caught doing something wrong

Is pride truly a bad feeling? Needing an answer I pulled out my dictionary. As I looked up the word PRIDE, I found words like arrogance, conceit, egotism, self-importance and vanity. Pride was also described as the greatest of the seven most deadly sins. Wow…those were not words I would want to be used to describe me. I felt even more embarrassed like a child caught doing something wrong.   As I continued to I also saw words like satisfaction, self-respect and a proper sense of ones own value. Now that felt better. So it is not pride in its self that is wrong, rather it is the source or how one communicates a sense of pride. It is possible the source of pride this individual spoke about was the pride that has someone define themselves by the new car, the big house, the bank account and frequently the title. It is the source of pride that creates a sense of superiority, conceit and smugness, thus creating a separation between yourself and others.  It is a pride fueled solely by the ego, a pride that is used to define you as better or superior.

The outcome of any circumstance did not define me.

As I sat in the room that day my sense of pride was internal. I was proud of who I was being, the person I was in the process of becoming. I was proud of all the fears and challenges I had been willing to face and overcome. The pride I was experience did not create separation but had me feel more connected. I was willing to be of service, and be what ever the circumstance demanded in that moment. I realized that I had come to a place where I understood that the outcome of any circumstance did not define me. Fulfilling any task big or small, pleasant or unpleasant did not contribute or take away from my worth. Rather it was my willingness to embrace the journey that was the gift, my source of growth, and ultimately the source of my pride.

I am grateful for the statement that individual made that day. In my confusion I turned to reflection and had a need to find the lesson. I now realize that I can not be prideful and humble at the same time. To be prideful is liken a title one uses to define ones value in the world. However, in my opinion, I can feel proud and be full of humility. To feel proud is to be grateful for the opportunity to triumph and learn the lesson available in my journey.

 Suzan Hart is an inspirational speaker, master trainer and author.  Knowing that your inner game creates your outer game Suzan’s mindset mastery, teaches hard working, results driven black men and women, to be un-apologetically recognized for their value, financially rewarded for their brilliance, and celebrated for the fullest expression of themselves.  Suzan Hart went from physically exhausted and financially upside down to becoming a Black Woman Millionaire. Suzan Hart is president of HartZone Inc and the founder of the F!T is the New $eXy movement.  Learn more and claim your free gift at http://www.hartzone.com