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Stay Humble and Kind

One of Ryan Holiday’s Daily Stoic blog posts put me on to the 2016 song Humble & Kind by Lori McKenna. The title hooked me, as humility is one of my personal core values (the others are commitment and curiosity). After listening to the song I looked up the lyrics and downloaded the song to my iTunes library. There are a lot of great lessons in the song. I am going to point out a few of the lyrics that provide some important guidance for leaders.

One of the phrases repeated throughout the song is “Always stay humble and kind.” If you take away nothing else from this post, then etch that line into your mind.

Here are some of the other key leadership lyrics:

“I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind

Many of us are told to “think big”, “find our Everest” and “reach for the stars”. There is nothing wrong with that advice; provided that the “stars” are someplace you are interested in going. You may choose to strive for continual advancement and promotion throughout your career and that is fine, provided you are doing it because you want to, not because you were told that not doing it meant you lacked drive and ambition.  Regardless of what level advancement you seek in your career, always strive for excellence and always stay humble and kind.

“When the dreams that you’re dreaming come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind”

When you achieve a goal or get that promotion it is good to celebrate that achievement and feel the pride of having done the work and put in the effort that led to that outcome. We need to celebrate the effort and the journey and not just the accomplishment. Just remember to stay humble and kind.

“When you get where you’re going, turn right back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind”

Being a true leader is about working to develop other leaders. As you move “up” in the organization be sure not to turn your back on others who are still on that journey. Help to coach, develop and mentor others even if that means helping them advance beyond the level that you are at.  On your journey in the pursuit of excellence and striving for continual learning, improvement and growth, always remember to be humble and kind.

“Be Kind” applies to everyone you interactive with in your day-to-day life, not just the people in your organization, or the people you think can help you get to where you are going. Be kind to the housekeeping staff at the hotel. Be kind to the barista in training at your favorite coffee shop. Be kind to the cashier and the people stocking shelves at the grocery store. Be kind to the server in the restaurant. Be kind to those with a different opinion than yours. Be kind to the security professionals in your office building. Always staying humble will help make it easier to be kind.

It might be helpful to combine the wisdom of Confucius with that of Lori McKenna:

Worry not who knows of you; seek to be worth knowing,                                                   and always stay humble and kind.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey. The Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop can help you on your leadership journey.

Brian Willis