I had a great conversation yesterday that got me thinking. I was talking to a recovering addict about all the changes that he’s been going through since entering recovery. He talked about how different this place is than the last one he lived. He talked about how hard it is to have a job, and how not fun it is to be living with his dad at 30.
When I asked him what the biggest thing he had learned about himself since moving here he thought for a few minutes and then said: “I’m learning to let go of my pride.” I asked him what that meant and his answer led my mind to wonder how much we all might benefit from letting our pride go more often.
He talked about how, being the new guy at his construction job, he doesn’t know how to do any of the things they ask him to do. Every time he tried to just ‘man up’ and go do it without asking for help he would mess something up, would get made fun of by the other guys, and would have to go back through and redo it. When other guys would carry two sheets of plywood up a flight of stairs he would try to do the same and end up dropping them, or hitting a wall, or looking like a fool as he struggled.
His boss stopped him one day and pulled him aside. His boss said “Hey man, we all know you don’t know anything. We are just waiting for you to ask for help. Stop trying to be a badass and start being a beginner.” The amazing part? This guy actually did stop trying to be a badass. He started asking for help, even though it was very unnatural for him. He’d ask the other guys to show him how to do the most basic of things, he’d ask them why they did something this way instead of that way, he’d ask them for help getting all his supplies where he needed them.
It was uncomfortable for him, but the other guys started teaching him. Granted, it came with a fair bit of razzing as well, but the energy shifted. Suddenly they were giving him their old tools that they didn’t use anymore, they started pointing out mistakes before he made them, and most importantly – they started including him in conversations. All of a sudden he was part of a team.
This guy says that everywhere he decides to drop his pride and ask for help, be real, and be vulnerable is where he is suddenly seeing noticeable changes in the way people interact with him and how much value he gets.
Where could we all learn to drop our pride and ask for help? Where might we get more of the connection that we all desire by simply not pretending that “we’ve got it” when we don’t. Food for thought.