This post is Part 4 in a 12-part blog series on humility and growth. (If you missed the first post, you can find it here.)
Doing Life Alone
In our culture today, we are encouraged to be a self-made man or woman. We are encouraged to make a name for ourselves and chart our own path. There is something romantic about figuring it out on our own. Maybe it’s the individualistic nature of our country. Maybe we’ve watched too many John Wayne movies. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things.
The Process of Apprenticeship
It wasn’t always this way. Two hundred years ago, when you were growing up, you served as an apprentice under a master of a particular trade. You followed the master around, observing them, and learning the trade first-hand. Over a period of several years, you honed your skills. Eventually you became an independent master yourself. There was something beautiful and humble about this process.
Losing Our Way
Now we’ve lost all that. Kids go to college by themselves and can’t figure out their calling. Young adults enter the job force without the skills necessary to succeed, and without adequate training programs to acquire those skills. Workers get to a point where they are adequate and don’t get any better at their job, content with passing the time and living weekend to weekend.
And that’s just the problems we have with work and career. In other areas of life, the problems are similar. People don’t understand what it takes to get in shape and eat healthy, so we strap something to our midsection that is supposed to give us a six-pack while we sit and watch TV. We stuff our faces with processed food, feeling good about ourselves because it has a label that says low-fat. In our emotional, relational, and spiritual lives, we operate by trial-and-error. It is no wonder that we see little growth or change in our lives.
To Train Well, You Need a Coach
On the other hand, consider an athlete in training. Everything is calculated—the workout routine, diet, even the rest and recovery. To get this kind of specialized training, you need a coach.
In just about any area of life that you are trying to make a change, there is a tried-and-true approach for improvement. There are people further down the path who have figured some things out. Humility involves letting go of the idea that you know everything and can do it on your own. Instead, humility admits you need help. You need someone more skilled to come into your life and provide you with a plan for growth and improvement.
To grow or change with humility, you need a coach.
Now a coach can look like a lot of different things. It doesn’t have to be an overweight, balding man with short shorts and a loud whistle. For example, if you want to grow socially, relationally, or emotionally, you might seek out a counselor or therapist. If you want to grow physically, you might commit to seeing a personal trainer or dietician. If you want to grow spiritually, you might seek out a pastor or spiritual director.
Don’t let your pride get in the way and go at it on your own. You probably won’t get very far. Instead, lead with humility and seek out information from someone who is an expert in the area you want to grow. Let someone in on your process and show you the way.