My mentor, Orrin Woodward, says leaders should value excellence over ego. I couldn’t agree more – in fact, I’m convinced that humility is an essential quality of a great leader. I included a section on humility in my upcoming book, The Voyage of a Viking. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.
God Bless, Tim Marks
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke, 14:11, ESV
Defeat can be a blessing. Many times it is. Defeat forces us to face reality and admit our weaknesses. If we are in the process of becoming a leader, defeat is used to prepare us for that responsibility. It’s better to make a mistake leading a small group of people and improve yourself then, rather than NOT learn the lesson and make that same mistake when you are leading a large group of people.
Maybe we are harsh with people, as I was and sometimes still have to be on guard against. Maybe we are disorganized. Maybe we are moody, or unpleasant to be around. Maybe we are negative. Whatever we need to improve, defeat usually has a way of pointing out our “area of opportunity.” As Tommy Newbury says, “We often don’t realize it, but we frequently come face to face with the exact obstacle we need at just the right time to sharpen us where we need it the most.” Hopefully, we can swallow our pride, admit we need to grow in a certain area, and say, “I need to overcome this weakness.”
One area of character that defeat really helps us manage is arrogance and pride. If we aren’t humble, we will be humbled – count on it! I know when I started having fast success in building my leadership business I made the mistake of “reading my own press clippings.” I listened to those who were praising me and cheering for me, and I started to get a big puffed up chest, thinking I was “all that and a bag of chips.” Well, God corrected me on that one pretty quickly by causing my business to slow down until I faced my arrogance. In fact, any time my pride has gotten out of hand, He sends me a gentle little reminder to knock me back into place.
I’m amazed at how we struggle with arrogance and pride, because a lot of the time we look pretty goofy to the people around us. It might do us some good to stop trying to look good all the time and just come down to earth. C.J. Mahaney, author of Humility: True Greatness, suggests one way to manage pride. He says, “First, play golf as much as possible. Yep, golf. In my athletic experience, I don’t think there’s a more difficult or humbling sport. Rather, humiliating – because if you play at all, you know all about those shots that result in laughter from you partners and humiliation for you. No one escapes them.” I think we could all benefit by loosening up and allowing ourselves to look silly more often.