Monday, May 5, 2014

Don't worry about your pride, worry about your principles.

   Just about fifteen years ago I held my first press conference. It was at RIMS, which is an insurance conference my old business attended every year.

   Everything was carefully coordinated, there was catering, and a wonderful room near the entrance so it would be easy for the media to attend. Except they didn't. Exactly one journalist was there. If I hadn't been an advertiser in their publication, the number would have dropped to precisely zero.

  Unsurprisingly my initial reaction was to be a bit depressed. Thankfully I quickly reframed the incident in my mind. Business was strong, my family was good, my health was excellent, and furthermore, I hadn't compromised myself in any way to pull off the event. Thus, there was nothing to be ashamed of in the lack of attendees.

   It illustrated a very important point: principles matter, pride doesn't. Valuing your principles means doing things in the right way, being honest, sticking to your commitments even when it is painful to do so. Pride revolves more around feelings. Principles are fixed, pride is fickle.

   So when you are considering the success or failure of a situation, evaluate your adherence to principles rather than your sense of pride. Why does that matter?

   When we are afraid of failing, that's usually our pride talking. Our worry over who is going to roll their eyes at our efforts, or ridicule our performance. By that standard, my first press conference was a dismal failure. But was it?

   Even though there was virtually nobody there, I learned some valuable lessons (always book too small a room...crowded always is more intriguing than empty). There's more, but that alone was enough to make it worthwhile.

  Now, I always try to remember whenever I feel fear creeping up: Don't worry about your pride, worry about your principles. 


  1. Principle takes us to success and pride takes us to failure.Well said, Tim!

  2. Nice story and enlighten. Well done Tim. Thanks :)