Wednesday, July 13, 2011

humility


Yesterday I lacked humility and was gently reminded of the consequences.

In a conversation with my friend who also happens to functionally be my boss I revealed the sad reality of part of my personality... my pride. Not only was it pride, it was the ugliest form of pride. It was the type of pride that revealed my thoughts of self righteousness at the detriment of those who I am in community with.

What I have found is the danger, yet perhaps blessing, of being an external processor is that we expose people to raw thoughts on a matter to organize them for future use. In one fowl swoop we can shed light on the ugliest and most beautiful aspects of who we are. It is in those moments that we are vulnerable to criticism and a false sense of grandeur.

What I am become more aware of is that few people are willing (nor should they be) to listen to my soapbox monologues on whatever has captured my thoughts and sift through what I mean and what I don't as I potentially minimize other's journey for the sake of making a point (which may or may not be valid).

Humility is one of those counterintuitive leadership qualities that I really struggle with. Admittedly, at times, I have found myself wondering, why am I not leading? ...only to realize half way into my pity party that I wanted to lead from a false sense of self grandeur.

Last week I sat around a fire with new and old friends as we discussed the possibility of humility being contagious. So I'd like to get your thoughts on the matter... Do we see Humility as a quality we desire in ourselves and in our leaders? What does it look like? Is it important? How is it acquired?

2 comments:

Emily said...

I have trouble with this too. I think one of the hard parts about humility is it isn't really a quality you can draw attention to. Like, it doesn't really work to say (or think), "one of my best qualities is how humble I am."

I try to acquire humility by focusing on the great things someone else is doing as opposed to just thinking about myself. If something I do turns out well, I try to remember it's God working through me and not something amazing I did. This is definitely an area I need to keep working on too, though. Thanks for the reminder!

My Fault said...

Those of us who process internally don't tend to be much better at humility. Once I've thought about something, I can save everyone time by telling you what the right answer is, right? Right? Hmm. Apparently that trick doesn't work.

For me it's less the action and more the focus, i.e. am I talking to TELL someone something, or to LEARN from their point of view? Like the quote from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: "Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for His glory, or for your own?"

It can be a subtle difference to see, and it's deeply entrenched in the paradox that humility is not equal to passiveness (nor is self-confidence the same as arrogance). It's an area I often feel misunderstood in, but that shouldn't be all that surprising since I often can't be sure where I fall it that spectrum myself.