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Being Humbled

September 29, 2010

It’s necessary.  I’ve needed to clean out and organize my office for a long time.  Too long as with many of us.  But, the truth is that it is also the right time.  But, that’s a completely different blog post.

Cleaning out my office I noticed an award I received for leadership when I was in university.  It was a very big award and in fact was the first of it’s kind given out.  The memory that came back when I saw the award wasn’t one of joy, accomplishment, pride or anything else.  It was a feeling right in the pit of my stomach.  It was an “Oh no, I didn’t do that” kind of feeling.  I’m sure that you’re surprised at this.  Not a normal feeling.  Well the reason for the feeling was a result of the award ceremony.

All of the leaders being honoured were at a big banquet and celebration.  At the time, I was well known and well respected for my leadership.  I’d done a lot and had moved the organization forward.  And, there were a number of awards that I could have potentially been nominated for and subsequently perhaps even won. 

As much as I wasn’t expecting anything (or so my conscious mind told myself), I did expect that they would recognize my work in some way.  Well, the awards started and as each award that I thought I had a chance of winning was handed out, my name was not called.  What this did was create a fair bit of anxiety at first, but then, it started to turn more into frustration and being upset.  In fact, all of the awards had been handed out and I was not the recipient of any of them.  I was not happy.

Now, there was a new award that was going to cap the evening off.  But, I knew that I would not be in the running for that one.  So, I was left sitting in the room feeling quite upset that many of my colleagues had been recognized but I hadn’t. 

Imagine my emotions when they were describing the last award.  I wasn’t even really listening, I was so focused on my own “woe”.  But, then my name was called for this new award.  I was shocked initially.  I honestly didn’t think that it was even possible I would get the award.  Then, the second emotion sank in.  I had been so upset at not being recognized and now they were recognizing me with their highest honour.

That was a humbling experience!  And, continues to be to this day, and even writing this article reinforces the dangers around expectation thinking and taking things too seriously.  And, finally, it’s always good to be humbled now and then.  It keeps us on course and refocuses each one of us.

Have you been humbled recently?  I have.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Louise says:

    A beautiful Aesop-like fable! And of course you deserved that award Paul!

    Now, what I’m wondering is how far you got with that office clean up!

    Keep up the good words Paul. It’s very inspiring.


  2. mindscape says:

    Thanks Louise. The office is really close. Life is but a series of projects. And, it feels great when each project gets complete.
    Cheers Paul