Over the past five or so years I have had the privilege to work around some great leaders who have helped coach and mentor me. A few of the key lessons they shared with me continue to heavily influence me on a daily basis. One of those lessons involves a very unique combination of two qualities, humility and confidence.
The idea that C.S. Lewis offered is one that I think of often, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” The more I find myself serving others (e.g., family, work, etc.) the more I find myself focusing my attention on others and surprisingly the better results I often find for myself. One of the ways this becomes a reality for me is by simply having a teachable spirit. I often wake up early in the morning and find myself reading the book of Proverbs in the Bible for daily wisdom and inspiration for my day. One verse that really stuck out to me in this regard is found in Proverbs 29:23, “One‘s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Being “lowly in spirit” is a good thing, it allows me not to forget where I came from while embodying this idea of being teachable among other things.
When I think of this idea: Humility combined with confidence I think of: 1) having a willingness to serve others and 2) a willingness to be teachable without feeling threatened (extremely important if you want to experience growth). In the context of organizational leadership I try and surround myself with the best people that I can possibly find, most of which are much smarter and more gifted than me in many ways. I am confident in myself as a leader and find the unique giftings of others fascinating. It’s this very thing that I see some leaders do very well and others not so much.
As a 37-year old leader I am very aware of my own continual need to grow in many of these categories. I also know that having the gift of other seasoned leaders to help me along the way sure makes it a little easier. It is a unique combination (humility and confidence) but when the two qualities are working together they can have amazing results in the life of the leader and their varying spheres of influence.