Pride is a tricky thing.
Many religious texts—and religious leaders—decry it. In fact, it’s one of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” along with greed, lust, envy, sloth, reality TV, and ordering red wine with fish.
It goes before a fall and it pairs well with Prejudice.
Sometimes we have to swallow it. (I find the best thing to wash it down is a chocolate milkshake.)
As kids, we’re often taught that we should be humble, and yet our parents take enormous pride in our accomplishments, even to the point of plastering them on their cars.
Adding to the confusion, we celebrate Italian Pride (Columbus Day), Mexican Pride (Cinco de Mayo), Black Pride, and Gay Pride.
These mixed messages can leave us feeling uncertain about whether or not pride is a good thing. And it causes too many people to downplay their talents, efforts, and accomplishments.
Which is a shame.
Because pride is about valuing yourself, as well as the people and things around you.
Researchers argue that pride is a universal emotion that serves multiple purposes in a society. It encourages us to value the future, to take risks, to persevere, and to help others. In short, pride helps us—as individuals and as a society—succeed.
It’s also a useful guide. If you feel pride about something you’ve done, that’s probably because it was a good thing to do. By contrast, if you feel embarrassed or ashamed about something in your behavior or your organization, that’s probably a bad sign.
So you should be proud! And here are 33 things you can—and damn well should—be proud of:
2. Your company
3. Your people
4. Your product or service
5. How happy your customers are with you
6. Your suppliers and vendors
7. Your partners
8. What you do for a living
9. How far you’ve come
10. Your ethics
11. Your values
12. Your attitude
13. Your talents
14. Your skills
15. The quality of your work
16. Your price
17. The value you deliver to customers
18. The jobs you’ve created
19. Your charitable efforts
20. Your customer service
21. How well you take care of your employees
22. The time you devote to family and loved ones
23. The people you’ve nurtured, mentored, and supported
24. Your commitment
25. Your compassion
26. Your appearance
27. The obstacles you’ve overcome
28. How you react to failure
29. The lessons you’ve learned
30. Your personal, professional, and/or organizational growth
31. The awards you’ve won
32. The accomplishments of your friends and loved ones
33. The changes you’ve helped create
If you’re not proud of the company you work for, or the products you sell, quit and go somewhere else. If you’re not proud of the way you look, hit the gym or hire an image consultant. If you have a hard time taking pride in your talents or accomplishments, consider seeing a therapist, to unburden yourself of the negative belief that pride is sinful.
Note that there’s a huge difference between pride and things like arrogance, hubris, conceitedness, cockiness, and narcissism. Taking pride in your appearance is not the same as being vain. Sharing your most recent success is a long way from bragging.
And I’m not saying humility isn’t valuable. In fact, quite the opposite—humility reminds us that there’s always room for improvement and helps us appreciate the value of other people. A little humility also keeps us from venturing into the arrogance zone.
But it’s absolutely okay to feel pride. In fact, it’s essential to your sales, business, and personal success. Being proud of your skills, appearance, commitment, and accomplishments boosts your confidence. And being proud of your company, product, service, and people boosts your enthusiasm. Those two factors are tremendously important for increasing your sales.
So stop downplaying your awesomeness. Embrace it! Let that pride surge through you and propel you to even greater things. Hey, if it worked for U2, it’ll work for you too.