Leading With Humility

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By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership

In our lives, most of us have learned to demonstrate confidence, pride and sometimes even arrogance. This is a side effect of the ego we have learned to develop through our schooling and our work as we learn to shine and are rewarded for our efforts.

As we have been conditioned by the societal program to work hard, achieve results, earn rewards and consume, we have also learned to show outwards signs of our success through the clothes we wear, the car we drive and the house we live in. We come to believe that we are more powerful than we actually are and we forget that without the help of others, we can accomplish nothing.

On this path of success, we often forget to be grateful for all the help we have received, all the people who have created opportunities for us and given us a break, our parents who have brought us to life and transferred us their values, all the people who believed our story and followed our leadership and all the clients who trusted us and bought our products.

One key ingredient that is often missing in leadership is humility.

Humility helps us to see our place in the grand scheme of life and to embrace this reality. It leads us towards a greater appreciation for being alive and having whatever we may have whether it is a healthy body, kind family, physical safety, great work or anything else. Humility also frees us from comparisons to others and from craving something different in life than what we already have.

For many of us in leadership positions, humility does not always come naturally. We often have to do a lot of inner work to become humble. Or we just have to allow life to do its work by giving us the challenges and upsets to allow us to become humble.

I used to be a confident and proud senior executive as my team was responsible for a large portion of the profits of the whole company. I had worked insanely hard to move up the corporate ladder and I thought I deserved every ounce of success I had. I was not really humble. In fact, I was arrogant.

Through various life challenges and major upsets, I have realized I am nothing without the help of others and that everything I accomplish is done through co-creation with others and the universe.

I start and end each day by saying thank you as I am immensely grateful to be alive and to be trusted by the universe to do the work I do.

I am in service of consciousness and I know that all the great ideas I have come to me through inspirations given to me by consciousness, I am simply an instrument for consciousness to expand through me and, the people I serve. I am also grateful for all the synchronicity in my relationships as all the right people come into my life at the right time to help me carry my mission.

As good as I think I am, how could I organize all these synchronicities by myself. I know now, there are a lot of forces at play and that I am living in a friendly universe.

I have learned that humility is a sign of evolution and transformation. As Rick Warren said, "True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.'' 

Great leaders are humble leaders. Instead of making themselves feel important, they make others feel important by asking questions, by asking for help and empowering their team. They also focus on gratitude and recognize everyone for their contribution. They are already in the spotlight by their position, so they shine a light on others.

Life works in mysterious ways. As soon as I think too highly of myself because of what I have accomplished or the impact I have had on someone, life throws a new challenge or upset at me to remind me to stay humble.