I’ve given a great deal of thought to the quality and attribute of humility. I even dedicated a whole chapter to the topic in my up coming book, SHIFT: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change, as in the Indigenous world humility is one of those attributes that is most highly regarded. In fact it’s considered a prerequisite that in order to become a “Medicine Man” or “Medicine Woman,” that one must first be authentically humble.
In the business world, however, we don’t seem to give much thought to it at all. In fact we celebrate the business moguls who seem to exhibit great levels of aggression and hubris. Case in point, Donald Trump publicly and callously firing people on his show, The Apprentice, and receiving huge ratings for it.
At a minimum we see humility in business as a show of weakness, and even fear the attribute as it may somehow give our competitors the impression that they can steam roll right over us.
Yet, the aspect of humility I’ve been thinking about lately is not so much about what real humility looks like, rather what it does not look like. I’ve been asking myself if real humility means that we shrink from the world or lessen ourselves so that we do not appear to be better than others…and I’ve come to believe that it does not.
If I lessen myself, which is to say that rather than expressing myself to the fullest potential of who I am I show smallness, or smaller-than-ness, then I am not helping others to see what their fullest potential of self-expression is.
Surely if Glenn can do it, you can. Right?
The awareness I’ve come to is that expressing myself in the world to the fullest of my potential does not have to diminish others, in fact it can help build them up, encourage them to strive for more, and see themselves in a much grander light.
What I think is crystal clear, is that if I express myself fully in such a way that I project myself as better than others, then I am clearly expressing an attribute that is the opposite of humility. Therefore, the essence of humility is not how large we live our lives, rather the way in which we project ourselves in relation to others. If I see myself above others I am clearly in ego. If I express myself as less than, then I am shrinking for the appearance of humility, but since I’m motivated by my appearance it’s still a form of ego.
That leaves the third option, which is to express myself fully in the world while projecting an intention and vibration of equal-ness to all others. The take away is for us all to be fully who we are in the world, to express our authentic selves, and to simultaneously honor the authentic self-expressions of everyone else.