Gran Torino  Is Pride Sabotaging Your Success?
By, Jessica Sitomer

Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski is a grumpy Korean war veteran, filled with prejudice. He can’t get along with his kids, and he certainly doesn’t get along with his Hmong neighbors. And then his young neighbors Thao and Sue, begin to grow on him, changing his perspective, little by little. While there are many times in the movie that Walt should be ashamed of his behavior, in the end, he makes a grand gesture that he can be proud of.

Pride can be a great thing and pride can be detrimental to your success. Too many people let pride get in the way of fulfilling their dreams. For example: getting a supplemental job to keep you afloat during slow times or asking for help.

If you fall into any of the following “pride traps,” let me give you some suggestions to turn the pride that’s holding you back, into something you can be proud of.

1.    Feeling too proud to ask for help: If you fall into this trap, you are not alone. This is one of my biggest obstacles when coaching people; getting them to ask for help. So, instead of pushing your “pride buttons” here’s something you can do today to make you feel proud: Call five people you’d like to ask for help, but instead, ask how you can help them. I’m talking about totally unsolicited, heart-felt, help offerings with no expectation of reciprocation.    

2.    Refusing to call someone you’re jealous of: This is one of those painful “bear-traps” that you step into and feel the steel claws digging into your ankle. My question is, “How is feeling jealous working out for you?” If the person of whom your jealous, has offered to help you and your pride is getting in the way, here’s something you can do today to make you feel proud: Connect this person with someone who can help him/her. The green-eyed monster will eat away at you making you resentful and no one will want to hire you. Instead, breakthrough your jealousy by being a connector.

3.    Holding out for the “work you used to get” when you really need work: This type of pride is like a punch to the gut. You see yourself as someone who “was really special,” and now you’re getting offered crap jobs, which you refuse to take. Here’s something you can do to make you feel proud: Recognize that you are still really special. Take the jobs that are offered, and mentor people on the set. You will be so appreciated and mentoring will fill you with pride- the good kind.  

4.    Expecting those you helped to reach out to you: Are you one of those people stuck in the pride trap of “I helped him when he was nobody and now he should be calling me! I shouldn’t have to call him to beg for work.” If so, here’s something you can do today to make you feel proud: write him a note about how well he’s doing, how inspired you are by his success, and how much you enjoy his work and watching him grow. Instead of taking it personally that he’s not calling, take it personally that you are a part of his success. That’s something to be proud of.   

5.    Allowing yourself to get into financial crisis: I’m with you on this one. I know it’s hard to do something other than focus 100% on your passion, but if you’re in financial crisis, you are not hirable. The stress is seeping out of your pores despite thinking you’re covering it up with a smile and a “Good-O.” Here’s something you can do today to make you feel proud: look for alternative sources of income. When that money starts coming in, and piece of mind starts to put you at ease, you will be proud that you took care of yourself and find that when work presents itself you will make it work.

If the idea of taking these actions is making you feel angry, bitter, resentful, and stubborn, DO THEM DESPITE your feelings! Feeling proud is a much better feeling.

And Action!

1. Identify how many (if any) of the pride traps apply to you.

2.  Decide to take a risk and tackle the worst one first, or allow yourself to take baby-steps and start with an easy on

It’s easy to wind up grumpy and alone like Walt, if you let your pride diminish the special person you are. Allow yourself to feel proud today!