Humility is not something that leaders are noted for. There is the temptation to always explain away mistakes, diminish the negative impact of a decision on customers or employees, or not accept or seek to understand feedback that is critical of one’s skills or behavior.
What does humility mean?
(Building the Bridge As You Walk On It by Robert E. Quinn)
“Humility helps us to remember our common bond with others. It helps us to avoid isolation, judgment, and indifference. It helps us remember that we are just one of the seven billion people on the planet. It helps us remember that we are all in it together.”
(The Book of Joy by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams)
“To be humble means that you don’t put yourself above somebody else. We can learn to be humble and to have reverence for all others, even when they are younger than we are. A young child deserves to be treated with humility and respect.”
(Awakening of the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh)
This past week has been a test for me in humility. It’s hard work because I want to challenge and be judgmental of the feedback I received.
I’m reminded of the fifth stage of humility from The Twelve Stages of Humility that come from the Benedictine Way of Living: “The fifth stage of humility is not to conceal our faults, but to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves, for to lie to ourselves or to others is to falsify our relationship with true life.”
So, I will be “ruthlessly honest” with myself. In so doing, healing will begin along with acceptance of what was given to me. This act will move me “to freedom from self-centeredness, to humility, the centerpiece of the true life.” I invite others to do the same.