Humility is a Superpower!

honesty winning tools Mar 20, 2024

When do you first remember learning about the idea of "humility"? I can remember growing up in the South -- the definition of "humble" seemed to be in the same family as words like meek, less than, or lowly. It wasn't until I landed the job as the head coach at the University of Kentucky that I learned the true definition of this powerful word. Every year, the head coaches for football and men's and women's basketball would hit the road to travel the state and meet with donors and boosters. At each stop, we would speak to the groups and share about our respective programs. At the first couple of stops, I remember sharing with the fans that I just couldn't believe my fortune of being hired at a program like Kentucky. Seriously, me? I was just a young guy from small-town Mississippi. Who was I to have found myself here? I vividly remember a strong arm pulling me aside after our second stop. It was Coach Rich Brooks -- our head football coach. He shared with me that the fans wanted to hear from a head coach. And sure, it was great that I was grateful to be there, but I could communicate that in a way that didn't demean my journey to get there. The truth was, I had worked incredibly hard to earn the head coaching position. I had the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in women's college basketball and I was applying what I had been taught in a successful way. That was the truth. 

That day, I learned that humility isn't thinking to highly OR too lowly of yourself, but having an accurate view of yourself -- your skills and abilities. When leaders are secure enough in their own abilities, it empowers their teams to acknowledge their own expertise and skill, which helps the whole organization succeed. When I was able to more confidently step into my ability as a leader and the hard work and experience I had that had gotten me to that point, others around me were able to do the same. I call that a win! 

Today, I want to encourage you to take a quick inventory of the TRUTH about your capabilities. Do you spend time telling yourself you aren't good enough? Do you let your inner critiic take over? I've been there. Here's an example of how you can reframe a negative statement into a true statement rooted in humility:

False Humility: I feel inadequate and like a fraud, even though I know I've achieved success. 
The Truth: I bring valuable expertise and skill to my role, continuously learning and growing to become a better leader.

Cultivating humility is an ongoing journey that requires self-reflection, empathy, and a commitment to growth. It involves embracing vulnerability, acknowledging mistakes, and learning from every experience. By practicing gratitude, actively listening to others, and remaining open to new perspectives, you can nurture humility in both your personal and professional life. 

Let's be humble leaders, in the truest sense of the word!