Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject: humility.
To be totally candid, I have an ideal vision of humility, and it looks like this:
[Zoom in on an open floor office plan. Jane and her colleagues are working at their desks, diligently. A partner from the firm walks into the room and announces in a loud voice]:
Partner: Jane, wow what incredible work you have done! Brilliant! Innovative! Fantastic!
Jane: (demures, blushing softly) Wow, thank you. It’s nothing!
Yes, in my imagination, being humble looks like getting rousing praise in front of a crowd and then brushing it off gently. How holy! If you think I don’t see the issue with that, you’ve thought wrong! I know that it’s ridiculous, but still *that’s* the kind of humility I want to face because it hurts less than what I came across last week when I returned to work after almost three weeks away.
The actual scene:
[Zoom in on an office with three chairs around the table. Jane and two of her superiors are sitting there. Jane, on three hours of sleep after her late flight back the evening before, is getting grilled about her past two months of work, instead of receiving the praise she expected for her heroic efforts.]
Manager: Jane, why did you do this? Whose idea was this? What are we supposed to do here?
Jane: (melting quickly into the floor) Um, sorry. It was a team effort. Can I go home now, please?
Needless to say, it was a rough first day back.
That night, I picked up St. Josemaria Escriva’s The Way to read a bit about humility, a subject I obviously require a masterclass in. And his words hit me, hard:
594. You are humble not when you humble yourself, but when you are humbled by others and you bear it for Christ.
Whoop, there it is.
Growth of humility is not found in minimizing peoples’ honest compliments or encouragements; it is found in bearing criticism, questions, and coaching, in allowing ourselves to be wrong and to be humiliated to become holy. Work is a phenomenal place to become humbled.
I’m not saying that we should bear abuse or undue criticism, but I often find myself bristling against the slightest critique or suggestion that my work is not perfect, and that’s a problem. Most readers of this newsletter are in their first ten years of work and I have it on good authority that we will continue learning and growing for many years to come. What’s the point of being coached or managed if we’re not being challenged to be better?
I don’t know your struggles with humility, but maybe you can join me this week in bearing those humiliations for Christ, trusting that we are clay in the hands of the Potter, and through our challenges, He is molding us perfectly.
What we’re loving lately:
My girly Erica is back and we’re reflecting on 2023 (and our words “abundance” and “providence”) as well as sharing our words for 2024!! Don’t forget to check out episode 66 where we announced our words of the year for 2023, and episode 76 when we did our mid-year check-in! Tune in here on iTunes or Spotify.
Fr. Walter Ciszek on Humility, from He Leadeth Me
“That’s what humility means: learning to accept disappointments and even defeat as God-sent, learning to persevere and carry on with peace of heart and confidence in God, secure in the knowledge that something worthwhile is being accomplished precisely because God’s will is at work in our life and we are doing our best to accept and follow it. For it is not man or what he does that counts most in the plans of divine providence, but rather that a man accepts in confidence and fulfills to the best of his ability each day what God has chosen for him.“
Thoughts on belonging
I’m pretty convinced that nothing feels better than belonging. Coming back to DC after a break this week, I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to have friends reach out and invite me to varied events or just stop by to say hi! And if experiencing belonging and inclusion is the best feeling, the second best is when we extend it to others. Is there anyone you’ve been meaning to reach out to? Here’s your sign to go and do it!
What I’m reading right now:
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh: Finally (finally) I’m reading this book that has been recommended to me for AGES. It’s really good, I’ll update you when I’m done.
- Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller: After my re-entry into work this week, I picked this one back up. It’s a beautiful exploration into God’s plan for work and how we can glorify Him no matter our job, role, or vocation. Highly rec!
- The Way of Trust and Love by Fr. Jaques Philippe: This is a six-day retreat on the writings of St. Therese and it’s phenom.
One last snow pic
Please enjoy my cutie-pie dog and his snowman girlfriend:
- For a friend who is getting married next month
- For five friends who are pregnant!! Yay!
- For my move this weekend (prayers up please!)
More Like This
Happy Tuesday, friends! Let's talk about doing hard things. We swim in a culture that proclaims "good things are hard," and that anything worth doing or achieving is usually difficult. I have worked for things that required immense sacrifice, discipline, and...
A few years ago, my good friend Bridget and I were having a conversation about sin, and she said something that has stayed with me since: "All sin is simply a result of us grasping at a good thing that we don't trust God wants to give us freely." Oof. I have seen...
Last week on the podcast, I shared my word of the year for 2024: fun. As usual, this word has many "satellite" words that accompany it, including childlike, trust, freedom, joy, play, etc. In my prayer, I've come to see that there are countless ways this word can...
Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.