SUCCESSFUL ARE THE HUMBLE FOR THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE.
HUMBLE: Not proud or arrogant; modest.
MODEST: Having or showing a moderate estimate of one’s merits or importance. Being free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness or great pretensions.
It’s often thought that humility is self-deprecation, evidenced at all times by a lowered head with upward-looking puppy-dog eyes. While self-deprecating HUMOR can attract, too much of it achieves just the opposite. Humility consists in the knowing of ourselves, weaknesses AND strengths. (I do not shy away from the word weakness. If we don’t call it what it is we deprive ourselves of the sheer joy of overcoming it.) Quiet recognition of gifts and attributes is actually a more accurate measure of humility. Think: “You have an amazing singing voice.” Response: “Thank you, it’s a gift. I really enjoy singing.” Denial of an obvious talent especially after being complimented is seen as rejection of a kindness and utterly false. We’ve all heard the phrase “false humility”. It’s off-putting and quite honestly, belies insecurity and weakness. Humility is not weakness or self-demotion, but rather, a balanced regard for what one does well and maybe not so well. No sputtering, red-faced embarrassment from making a mistake. Rather, it is laughter at our humanity, the unpredictability of our actions and their results and THEN…WE MOVE ON!
To put it bluntly, I've not come across many who like being around narcissists nor have I seen any books that espouse the virtues of narcissism as a means of motivating and leading people (IF YOU HAVE SEEN A BOOK THAT PROMOTES NARCISSISM – RUN AWAY!). Arrogance and narcissism are poison to any organization or team. Now, I will be the first to admit that loud and brash confidence has its time and place when fighting for what is right and best for your business, organization and team. Mother Teresa fought for what was right but embodied the beauty of humility and she changed the world. We NEED HUMBLE FIGHTERS IN BUSINESS. Fight boldly but with quiet confidence, relying upon social intelligence to reach diverse groups. It's like this: Know your audience and engage them by attracting not attacking!
So how then does a business leader develop the Beautiful Attitude of Humility while maintaining that balanced understanding of strengths and weaknesses? This one’s easy…TEACH DON’T PREACH. Put your peacock feathers away and allow humility to be the great equalizer. We are ALL in a growth process of one kind or another, but some of us are farther along in the journey. Take that traveler's wisdom and share it with someone who needs a helping hand, the wisdom that only YOU can offer. And remember, if you don’t have all the answers, FIND THEM. Ask for help! Everyone grows in the beautiful exchange of information and life lessons.
CALL TO ACTION: Write down one strength and one, yes, weakness.
ULTIMATE GOAL: Life-long practice of recognizing our gifts and talents and USING THEM!