Mackay: Take pride in your work, not in yourself

Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees had a fierce pride about always doing his best. The Yankees were on the road for a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. The day was not only boiling hot, the Browns were also last place in the league. Despite this, DiMaggio made an offhand comment that he was looking forward to playing that day.

“In this heat!” said an amazed sportswriter. “How can you enjoy playing a doubleheader in stifling weather like this?”

Glancing toward the grandstand, DiMaggio said, “Maybe somebody out there has never seen me play before.”

DiMaggio, affectionately known as the Yankee Clipper, was a prideful player. He was serious and genuine when he made those comments. Unfortunately, I know many people mistake pride for selfishness.

Pride, to me, is being self-confident, but not egotistical. Pride is having a positive, can-do attitude because you will settle for nothing less than your level best.

I want people like Joe DiMaggio who are proud of the work they perform. Here are ways to build the pride that I look for:

Build your reputation. Whatever you do for a living, your signature is on it. You can’t buy a reputation for doing good work; you must earn it. Reputation is one of the few assets that your competition cannot undersell or destroy. Would you buy a product or service from someone who didn’t take pride in his work?

Play your role. Everyone has a specific job to do, no matter how small it might seem to you. Do it to the best of your ability. Be a good team player. The boat won’t go if we all don’t row.

Be confident, but not cocky. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments, but you don’t always have to tell the world. Keep your ego in check. A person who has the right to boast doesn’t necessarily have to. Self-esteem is a must for a prideful person.

Stay positive. Don’t let others bring you down, which is why I don’t hang around negative people. Be friendly to everyone, including the people you dislike.

Build trust. The most important five-letter word in business is trust. Trust is central to doing business with anyone. People do not or cannot trust each other if they are easily suspicious.

Be knowledgeable. Learn as much as you can, and then keep on learning more. Knowledge is power.

Know that you don’t know everything. The way I like to say it is: I know that you don’t know, but you don’t know that you don’t know. You can’t know everything, but you can know people who do. The best remedy for conceit is to make a list of all the things you don’t know but should.

Do good. Be a nice person and polite to everyone. Help people who need help. Try not to be judgmental.

Be kind. The Golden Rule applies here: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Smile and ignore anyone who wants to be mean to you.

As a professional photographer, Julie took a lot of pride in her work, and brought samples everywhere she went in hopes of getting new business. One evening she was at a dinner party, and her host asked to see her portfolio. She showed him over a dozen pictures, and the host was impressed.

“These are some really nice shots,” he told her. “You must have a great camera.”

Julie was annoyed but said nothing until the meal was over.

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