How Do You Separate Pride from Joy?

I am totally thrilled. A writer in my more intensive Secrets of Non-Fiction Writing workshop published a book. I am over-the-moon happy.

That’s when I started wondering: did I feel pride or joy? Let me pull that apart a little.

I feel pride in my ability to help the writer understand what he needed to do to publish the book. I feel joy for him.

I don’t take pride in his accomplishments. I provided some ideas and moral support. He did the work. I feel joy for him.

Some of us get confused about whether we feel pride or joy. I find this in parenting and in organizations.

Many parents think their children’s accomplishments reflect on them as parents. But, there’s a limit to what parents can (or should do) for their children. Parents can:

  • Provide equipment (a musical instrument, the right clothes for the sport, books to read) that a child needs to hone his/her skills
  • Help create space for practice.
  • Provide moral support (encourage, check in, and more)

Once a parent does that, does a parent do anything else? For small children, probably. Small children might require more guidance and helping. (Although, not so much as we might expect.) Once a child goes to school, does a parent do any more? I don’t think so, but maybe my list is incomplete.

What about people in organizations? This is where too many managers and senior people take a too-parental-for-me approach. If you are coaching someone or helping them see another way to work, you might:

  • Provide training or explanation
  • Help create space for practice with feedback
  • Provide moral support

Once a person has proven they know how to do this new skill, who takes credit for it? In my world, the person takes credit for their own accomplishment(s). They feel the pride and the joy. The coach or teacher? I feel joy and the pride of my ability to teach and/or coach.

If you have the growth mindset, it might be easier for you to separate the pride vs. joy. If I helped/facilitated/created a space for the person to do their work, I can feel pride in my work and joy in their results.

Dear adaptable leaders, that is the question this week: How do you separate pride from joy?

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