Being humble didn't come easy to me. Not because I'm arrogant, but because I was afraid. As a woman often in a man's world, I felt a need to prove myself and struggled to feel fully heard. Working too hard to be noticed and heard can sabotage humbleness.
Truth was I never felt good enough.
Humility is not worried about being enough, however. It's knowing you're enough just as you are. Humility doesn't ask to be proven. It says you're content. It doesn't need recognition. It knows being anonymous doesn't translate to being invisible. I never got that memo.
Humility knows how to listen. It is steady in the face of competition, and calm in the face of power, false or authentic. Humility is transparent and honest.
The mark of a humble person lies in their ability to listen, wait, and trust what's happening around them. They remain unflappable in the emotional chaos of power struggles, and don't need their voice heard simply for the sake of it. They wait for the right moment with sincerity. The most powerful leaders I've known led by barely saying a word. The strength was in their silence, their presence alone, rooted in humility, gained earned them their respect.
When a leader has the gift of humbleness, she will be the most effective and memorable leader we remember. It is the most powerful tool for empowerment. Glen Secrist was the most humble, yet powerful, man I've ever known. He could command a room like a Montessori master. His humbleness was his gift and his strength. It was an invisible secret weapon that was also silent. His gift of authentic humbleness gave everyone room to trust him - and those above him weren't threatened by him either. This is how followers happen - without coercion.
When people cross the path of a truly humble person, they feel seen. It doesn't matter how different others are, or what the nature of their status or relationship is, the humble person meets everyone through their common humanity. Shared humanity is the great equalizer.
Jesus was known to be humble, even when claiming to be the son of man. Or God. And when he performed miracles. He was humble standing in his power. As a matter of fact, it was a vehicle that transmitted his personal power. His humility drew people to him because they trusted him. I've often heard people say Jesus was popular because he had charisma. I'm not sure I agree, and if I do, we'd have to agree on how charisma is defined. I think Jesus' authenticity entered the room before he did. That's how authentic power and love shows up. The big God kind of love can't be itself without humbleness because that love expresses itself from a servant's heart. They're contradictory. Humbleness is at the root of compassion.
True compassion won't stand without humbleness at its core. Humbleness has the ability to see others, truly see them, without filters. Humbleness bows, while arrogance postures. Humbleness surrenders, while pride resists. Humbleness trusts, while selfishness boasts. Humbleness loves, while competitiveness spars. Humbleness channels, while the ego circumvents. Humbleness empowers, while authority demeans. Humbleness centers/grounds, while fear explodes.
The way of humbleness leads us to authentic power - and relationships. It is the way of God. It's another door that points the way to inner transformation.