Humble people don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less. Some of the best networkers I know are humble. In fact, many of the most successful people I’ve ever met have been remarkably humble. Humility and being successful are not mutually exclusive.
I remember going to a political function when I was in my late teens. I had decided that I wanted to help with a campaign for a particular individual whose platform I appreciated. Then… I met him. Someone who was high up in his campaign introduced me to him. When he realized that I was a lowly college student, I almost immediately lost his attention. His eyes were darting across the room looking for someone more successful than me. He ended up being very dismissive and came across as incredibly arrogant.
After that encounter, I decided not to help in his campaign. Instead, I picked someone running for a different office. This person was engaging and friendly, and he was respectful of people that didn’t appear to have much to offer. He spoke with everyone, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. He welcomed my involvement and activity in his campaign. Within six months, I was running his entire regional campaign office. I put hundreds of hours into the campaign and helped that person win office.
That experience taught me a lot about the kind of leader I wanted to be as I became more successful in life.
Humility Costs Nothing
Humility costs nothing and yet it yields tremendous returns. Being humble sounds simple enough, however, many people wonder what it actually looks like. I have observed that there are many ways to show humility. These are some important traits that humble people display:
- First and foremost, their ego does not enter the room before they do.
Jack Canfield, who is a friend and has been my guest on The BNI Podcast, is a very humble person. He has sold over 500 million books, and when I’ve gone out to dinner with him, he’s easy to talk to and very personable; he never tells people who he is. He is a great example of this trait.
- They are approachable – they are friendly and easy to talk with. Their body language is open and inviting; they smile and say hello to others at events and networking meetings.
- A humble person is a good listener and asks questions during a conversation. They show a genuine interest when talking to others, asking them about their business; asking what do they love about what they do? They talk about the other person more than they talk about themselves.
- They maintain eye contact in a conversation and stay engaged in the discussion. This shows genuine interest in whomever they are talking with. That is one of the things that Richard Branson does amazing well. I remember going to a party once and taking my 17-year-old son with me. I have a photograph from that evening of him talking to my son, Trey, with complete eye contact and total engagement in the discussion. Branson is a billionaire, he didn’t have to give a young kid his time, but he did and it’s a great example of how humility plays out positively in being a great networker.
- They are comfortable making people feel at ease and thanking people when appropriate. Gratitude is often lacking in today’s business world. Expressing genuine and sincere gratitude is a wonderful trait of humility.
- Humble individuals tend to have an abundance mentality; they have an awareness that there is more than enough for everyone. They tend to have a positive attitude and focus on solutions rather than simply complaining about problems.
- They are situationally aware and have strong emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to manage relationships with other people and humble individuals do this well.
- They are not self-absorbed. They know their strengths and are comfortable with who they are. They don’t behave as though the world revolves around them. They certainly don’t have the Prima Donna Syndrome.
Most importantly, they practice what I call Givers Gain®, which is predicated on the age-old concept of “what goes around, comes around.” Humble people approach life with a certain amount of altruism and strive to make a difference in the lives of others.
As we become more successful in life, it is critical to maintain one’s humility. That humility will serve you well if you want to connect with people. No one is perfect with this all the time. The process is a journey, not a destination. It is something we must always strive for.
If you achieve success in business, demonstrate real humility regardless of people’s expectations. Be someone who is engaging and caring, as well as knowledgeable and successful. Above all, remember that humble people don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below. Thank you.