"Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others."
Gordon B. Hinkely
"How many of you describe yourself as humble?"
I was speaking to a group of mid-level managers about leadership. Tentatively all the hands went up.
"How many of you worry about being viewed as self-serving if you talk about yourself?" All the hands remained in the air.
"How many of you worry that being humble is hurting your career?" The hands stayed up.
If you describe yourself as humble, there's a good chance you feel the same way.
Welcome to the humility trap
Look around. You're in good company. There are many people who feel their humility holds them back from recognition, opportunity, and even advancement.
It's a leadership trap too.
How many organizations are being led by too many self-serving leaders because the humble ones stay trapped?
I think the world needs more humble people, and that organizations would be better served with more humble leaders.
I'm on a mission to help you hack your humility trap.
Here are 4 ways to hack the humility trap
Trust your humility.
If you are truly humble, your humility will show.
Trust that your actions speak louder than words.
Trust that genuine humility shines even when you advocate for yourself.
Trust that you have the integrity to reel yourself back when you've crossed the line.
I know what it's like to wrestle with advancement for advancement sake. I also know that my "playing small does not serve the world" (Marianne Williamson). I found my voice and my courage when I chose to fulfill my potential to help others in need.
Choose to advocate for yourself to be in the position to advocate for others.
Kick the humility habit.
It's one thing to be humble, but has your humility become an excuse to not try?
Make an honest assessment of what you do well and what you need to do better. Are you truly too humble to speak up, or are you simply uncomfortable? When you stop blaming humility, and you'll find real opportunities for improvement.
Focus on who you ARE, not on who you're NOT.
People in the humility trap spend more time time more worried about being perceived as "NOT humble" than worrying about being humble.
Remember: every minute you're focused on who you're NOT, is a minute you're not focused on who you ARE: humble, compassionate, and generous.
Break free from the perception trap.
It's time to hack your humility trap.
Don't take yourself out of the leadership race because of your humility. Enter the race BECAUSE you're humble. The world needs more humble leaders.
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PHOTO/Booby Trap by Michael Li, on Flickr