"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." C.S. Lewis
Where's the line between telling your story with pride and maintaining humility? This world is full of hardworking people with wonderful stories who struggle with this question. One of my favorites is Luq Hunter, an IT Project Manager in P&G's distribution network.
If you ever meet Luq, you will immediately be struck by his positive attitude and generous spirit. You will realize he is an excellent IT manager. You may even find out that he is a musician and song writer. What you will never know is Luq's inspiring personal story to break out of poverty, or hear of the many people he supports and helps.
Luq was raised in Long Island, NY, the oldest of 8 children, and from a family of very limited means. As a 14 year old, Luq worked 60 hours a week at a summer job to help support his family. No job was too small. Luq worked his way through college, and now raises his family in the Southeast. That's a long way from the days of selling cookies to pay for his college tuition.
Luq is incredibly proud of his story, but he is reluctant to share it. Why? Because in addition to being generous, and talented, Luq is humble. And Luq's humility doesn't just hold him back. It has become a trap.
How can such a wonderful virtue be a trap? Because humble people like Luq hold back out of a fear of being labeled self centered. Humility prevents them from sharing their stories. Humility prevents them from inspiring others.
After hearing Luq's story, I coached him to view his story as a gift. I told him that he was walking by people everyday who needed inspiration. Inspiration is a gift, no different than the gift of time or money. I challenged Luq to listen for the unexpressed need for inspiration, and then share his story.
Are you trapped by your humility?
Humility should not rob you of your voice. Humility should not limit your potential or reduce your impact on others. Be humble, but be free from the humility trap.
Go and share with humility today.
Looking to lead with humility? Take a look at Don't Wish for Power; Wish for Influence.