HERO TRAIT 9: HUMILITY

Humility has the power to make others feel as though they deeply matter.

It the nemesis to our egos and our sense of self that wants to believe we are the most important person around.

If humility is “thinking others more important than ourselves,” then what is it not? Humility is not having a low self-image. It’s not lacking confidence or having low self-worth. It’s not “thinking others are better than we are.” All of us are equally and wonderfully made.

As humans, we tend to create a hierarchy of populations. We place people, communities, perhaps even entire countries, inside of that. Humility, however, is living as though this hierarchy were artificial and unimportant. Humility is the “golden trait,” for it is the one that can both inspire and equalize those around you.

Just one in a million stories...

The beauty of a humble life is that it is like the undercurrent of the ocean. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there, giving life and moving life.

While some people rise to the surface for what they do and how they act, multiplied more move just under the water’s surface, allowing others to be seen instead. It’s the depth that make the surface so crazy beautiful.

Lee has worked with CEOs and leaders of organizations for years. Fresh out of graduate school, he was put in a position of leadership for a major publication. During those years, Lee interacted with a lot of leaders—most were cordial, some were nice, and then there were the few who literally changed Lee’s life because of their ability to humble themselves to build him up. Lee recalls countless times when his boss (who fell into this latter category) would give him the responsibility to lead meetings or make creative editorial decisions.

Lee’s boss would affirm him, even when inside Lee felt unimportant and little. And then one day the decision was made that Lee would be getting a promotion, and in one fell swoop the transition of power was changed. But that transition felt awkward for Lee even while his boss had tremendous joy in seeing Lee flourish in his new role. Every time he’d introduce Lee to another person, he would say, “This is Lee. He’s my boss.” And he’d say it with pride.

Humility is jarring when you come across it. It’s jarring because it’s both quite common and quite rare at the same time. But when we reorient ourselves such that we see others as more important than we are, magical things happen.

 

Humility looks like:

The teacher who notices the shy child in the back corner and spends time impressing upon her how gifted she is…

and then seeing that child begin to believe she can do well.

The man and woman, both deeply wounded after years of verbal sparring and unkind deeds, who both begin to look at their own responsibility in their hurting marriage…

and then committing to give their marriage once last chance.

The server at the diner who believes her job has little value…

and then noticing a young girl alone, she sits down and becomes a friend to the girl who is living in a broken home. 

CONSIDER HUMILITY.

What does it look like for you to live a life of humility? Who in your life displays humility?