Humble Pie: How a Taste of Humility Can Call Us to Action

You’ve heard the expression, “I ate a piece of humble pie”? Basically, when you’ve been humbled, that’s what you were served. It never tastes good, but its benefits are priceless.

In fact, a little bit of humility is one of the greatest gifts we can receive. Because humility is borne from humiliation, it never feels or tastes good when we are served it, but the challenge is to ingest it and take it as a gift. But can we be grateful for the taste of humble pie when we receive it?

For years I have wanted to write a book, however, I’ve obviously never made it a true priority. For the past five years, I have been part of this amazing Mastermind group where we share three major goals we would like to accomplish each year and hold each other accountable to achieving those goals. For four of those five years I have made writing this book one of the major three goals. At the end of each year we get together, usually at an offsite place, to do a year-end review. We review our wins, losses, what we are grateful for, and what adjustments we can make going forward.

As you may have read before, this past December, we were in Deep Creek, Md., for our year-end review. We were having an incredible day discussing how well our years had gone. Our energy was high; we had completed celebrating our wins and what we were grateful for during the year, and now it was time to review our losses for the year.

Each round we would draw names out of a hat to determine the order of who would go first, second, third, and fourth. My name was drawn first as we were ready to discuss our losses. Now, I am sitting at a table with three of my closest buddies; guys who know my highest highs and lowest lows. I knew I had to talk about one of my losses as not completing this book as I had written down in January. I thought I was going to share with them how I didn’t finish the book, they were going to tell me that’s okay, push me a little to finish it next year, and give me a some encouragement. What I got was totally different.

As soon as I finished making the statement, “You guys know I didn’t finish the book,” my friend, Pete, who was sitting to the right of me, looks at me dead in the eyes and says, “You’re either lying to us or you’re full of s—.” I felt like I had just gotten punched in the stomach and all the wind was knocked out of me. I wanted to jump across the table and knock the guy out (of course, I didn’t do that). It was crushing to hear a close friend of mine call me a liar. Seconds later, the other two friends sitting at the table voiced their opinions as well in agreeing with Pete. I was in shock! Three of my closest friends, who I had been sharing everything with over the last five years were calling me out. For four of the last five years I had made writing a book a major goal of mine and it had yet to be completed. Who was I kidding? It certainly wasn’t them anymore. I was served a piece of humble pie.

When we are served a piece of humble pie, we must see the good in it in order to learn from it. We must be willing to accept constructive criticism as a gift and learn what you can do to make yourself better going forward.

It hurt to hear the words come from their mouths but the truth was, I had not made writing this book a priority and my buddies were not going to let me slide this time. We had to figure out what I was going to do going forward to achieve this goal. I had not consistently picked a time of the day every day to dedicate to writing and I had to give them my plan as to what I was going to do going forward to make it a priority and finish this book. I decided, beginning Jan 1, I was going to write for 30-45 minutes every business day, with the goal of finishing the writing material by June 30.

If my close friends would not have called me out back in December, I would still be procrastinating with this book. Since then I have completed several chapters and I have a great deal of momentum in moving forward to finish this book. But completing the writing is not the final goal in writing the book. As soon as I’m done, it will be time to move toward the next step — seeing it get published. I expect my Mastermind friends to hold me to a new round of accountability.

As I said, being called out hurt and it didn’t taste good, but I am grateful to have friends to do what they did. Humble pie doesn’t taste good initially, but after you digest it, you know it was good for you.