Lessons in Humility

My Grandmother would use the phrase: “He’s getting too big for his britches!”

This had nothing to do with pants, what she meant was the person was beginning to feel a bit too conceited, or in other words: thought of themselves as more important than others for one reason or another.

We all dream of becoming famous, or important, in one way or another. We long to be recognized for our contributions and we can get a little “too big for our britches” when that recognition comes sometimes. Here’s a moment I had where Grandma’s words hit home…

I was speaking at a national conference for the first time since my first book had been released. I was definitely feeling important – I had finally accomplished a life-long dream of being a published author! So what if I wasn’t on the New York Bestseller list, it couldn’t be too far off, I was on my way!

I was in the Exhibit hall at my publisher’s booth talking with another one of their authors. (Someone much more established.) A group of women came down the hall, screamed and pointed at us saying “It’s the author!”

My chest puffed out with pride, I thought for sure my moment of fame had come: I had been recognized and had fans walking my way!

The three women ran up to the author standing next to me with squeals of delight, then one of them handed me their camera and said “Could you please take our picture?”

The author stood proudly between the women and I took the picture, handing them back the camera, and basically disappearing from the scene. They never looked twice at me.

At first I was very deflated and hurt. Then I started to replay the scene in my head and Grandma’s words came back to me. I had certainly gotten too big for my britches, standing there assuming I was so important that strangers would clamor to get a picture with me.

So, even though it felt like a “failure” moment in my life, it actually helped me to improve. I remembered that the reason I started writing wasn’t because I wanted fame and recognition, it was because I love the written word. I love putting ideas to paper and just seeing it in print was amazing to me. The rest didn’t really matter. I had accomplished my dream and I wasn’t done yet. Maybe someday the screams would be for me, but I’m good for now.

Another thing I thought about was how the other author never took the time to tell the women there was another author there with them. I learned from this as well. Everyone is special. Everyone is important. And everyone deserves to be recognized. I made a promise to always take the time to connect with others, to give others recognition, to honor them.


You get what you give” was another Grandma quote that came to mind that day.

So, next time you are in a situation where you think you missed the mark somehow, or are being left behind, remember that there’s a lesson in there, and when you find it you’ll be a better person for it.

Thanks Grandma, my britches are feeling much more roomy today!

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