Talking about being humble can make you feel, well, uncomfortable. It seems like a taboo subject. The dictionary definition states having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. Alright, that’s a solid definition; I’m not going to quibble with the dictionary. I would add something though–think of being humble as being a really good listener. But not just any listener, a listener who assumes that the person you are listening to might actually know something you don’t. (Thanks, Dr. Jordan Peterson!)
Let that settle for a moment. How often do we find ourselves in a conversation not really listening but rather formulating our own thoughts like a row of neat little tin soldiers ready to fire back our great knowledge to whomever we are in conversation with?
The net/net is this: We can show humility by letting other people talk and share with us. By showing quiet consideration in our response we can show that we respect and honor their opinions.
What’s In It For Me?
By assuming the person you are talking to might actually know something you don’t or can teach you something, you might actually…wait for it…learn something! GASP! All kidding aside, this type of listening can enrich your relationships with others and help broaden your understanding of that person and the world around you.
The “Be” in “Be Your Adventure” is a verb. In fact, we think of it as an action verb, because to be your adventure means taking action that moves your life in a positive direct. Labs are how that happens. Choose one (or more!) of the labs below as a way to take action on this topic! Learn more about labs.
Lab: Listening and Learning
- Take the next conversational opportunity in business or a personal conversation and hold back any comments until the other person has finished. Pause before you add your “2 cents worth” and then speak thoughtfully and clearly. Exaggerate this exercise if you must. Project humility and watch how the person across the table reacts to you. You’ll be amazed!
- Watch for an opportunity to give someone credit for a good thing that they’ve done. Praise them in a humble way with positivity and heartfelt compliment. The idea is to acknowledge that you’re not the only person in the fight. There are others who are as important to the goal as you are and you are acknowledging it!
Now that you’ve taken action by choosing one or more of the labs and trying it/them out, the “Postgame” is how you share your results—including any insights you may have gained—with the community. Learn more about postgame reports.
1. Ask yourself, “Was it hard for me to hold back a comment?” If so, then why? No need to overanalyze yourself here. The key is to observe your own behavior and adjust. If humility is the goal then less is more when participating in various social situations.
2. How did the person react when you acknowledged something positive in them? Did they react differently to you then they have in the past. Did this exercise make you feel any different? Humility can be a scary thing for some of us because we like being in control. The good news is that humility can free us from that role. Other people matter and they want to know that from us. Some people do this naturally but most of us struggle with it. Good job on a valid attempt to BE Humble!
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, states (I’m paraphrasing) that the most important trait in great leaders is humility. This trait garners respect from others because they know that you value them as people and care about them as individuals. Hence they will follow you anywhere. Even if we’re not leaders we want people to have positive experiences with us as we move through life. We want to motivate them and make a difference in their lives. Humility is a HUGE step toward accomplishing this!
Creator, Be Your Adventure
Val Oechslin is passionate about helping people reach new heights, overcome obstacles, and become the person they’ve always dreamed of being. An artist, filmmaker, storyteller, and vision coach, Val makes her home in Bozeman, Montana with her husband, Tom.