The meeting room is full. The conversation is brisk. The agenda is getting tackled.
And then it happens.
A certain project becomes the topic of discussion. A project you care about. A project you feel connected to. A project which has had some success for which you believe you are partly responsible.
But no one is saying anything about your part. In fact, they are talking like that guy sitting over there is responsible.
Sure, he helped. But you did more. At least you feel like you did.
You begin to ask yourself what might happen if your supervisor got wind of “that guy’s” success and but didn’t know about your role.
Should you speak up and humble brag, just to make sure you get the credit you deserve?
What is it inside of you that makes you want to do that?
The Scripture offers some poignant words that can help us understand.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Notice the theme the writer is addressing.
Don’t lean on your own understanding.
Don’t be wise in your own eyes.
These ideas run counter to the confidence that we often feel is necessary to advance in business. They connected to a root that lies deep within our psyche.
That root is pride.
That root is deep, but it still bears fruit.
It’s fruit is the reason you tell stories about your successes at social gatherings. It’s the reason you remind others about how you have hob-knobbed with important people or made Fortune 500 executives cry because of your power. It’s the reason you correct others about your title. It’s the reason you use unrelatable, professional jargon in common conversation when you know you don’t have too.
That fruit looks like you finding opportunities to talk about your wisdom and experience in situations where it’s irrelevant.
The fruit is nasty but the problem is the root. You are relying on your own wisdom.
The upside down idea is this: Relying on your own wisdom will hinder your future. It seems counter-intuitive but the Proverbs are clear.
There is a better way.
And this better way comes with a promise. He will make straight your paths, give you healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (v.7-8)
Trust that the fruit is revealing the root. And with God’s help, dig it out.
Your path will be better for it.