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Wisdom and Humility

Scrabble tiles that spell out "Wisdom begins in wonder"

As I shared last month, I was on a month-long leave to rest and renew. When I take the time to res(e)t, I am usually surprised by something I wonder about or an idea that captures my attention. In this past month, I’ve been wondering about wisdom. I’m now even more curious about how leaders cultivate wisdom, how it shows up in unexpected places, and how we can open ourselves up to wisdom that helps us more authentically be who we are deep in our bones.

When we increase in wisdom, we also gain a healthier sense of who we are, our strengths and weaknesses. This could also be called humility. One of the quotes I’ve pondered while on leave is “humility is being the exact person we are…no more, no less.” (author unknown) This is a hard quote for me to embrace because it requires something of me that I haven’t been willing to give. It requires that I acknowledge that I am good at specific things or have innate talents over which I have little control besides strengthening them, which wasn’t something that felt encouraged in my family of origin. It was called bragging, and bragging was bad.

The more I live into authentic leadership, the more I realize how this idea of humility can be transformational in my own life and the lives of the people I lead and work with. This might seem self-evident, but how often do you call out, in public, when an employee or colleague does a good job or goes above and beyond? How often do you have conversations that give people permission to own their stuff (both helpful and unhelpful depending on the situation)?

Most of the time it’s much easier for me to have these conversations or give accolades to other people, but I don’t receive them well. Maybe it’s the same for you. What I’ve learned over the last month is that I diminish myself if I don’t present myself as I truly am, or at least work towards it. So here are a couple self-reflection questions to get you started in looking at who you are with wisdom and humility.

Questions to ponder:

● What am I good at that I’ve diminished when someone has complimented me or brought to attention?

● Where have I oversold my skills or talent? What was the result?

● Are there places in my life and/or work where I’m being invited to wisdom and humility?

Stay curious friends!

Make sure you’re listening to season one of the Dream Big Authentic Leadership podcast, found on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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