The Value of Humility

business introductions

Years ago at a holiday gathering, an existing client introduced me to the CEO of a fast-growing national company. The beginning of the introduction was the standard, “I’d like you to meet Mary Jane who, etc. etc.” But then he ended the introduction with a statement that surprised me and that I’ve returned to frequently. With admiration, he said: “And she’s one of the most humble individuals I’ve ever met.”

My initial reaction was, “That’s a good thing?”

It’s only now while researching and gathering together the elements of storyfinding that I’ve finally understood his meaning, and how he honored me with such a heartfelt compliment.

Why is humility a good thing? And how does it allow us to truly serve our prospects, clients and customers?

My confusion about the word “humility” is evident in the word’s evolution. Coming to us from early 14th century Old French, it meant “modesty and sweetness”. These descriptors don’t interest me. I’m even less interested in the Latin meanings of the word: “lowness, small stature; insignificance; baseness, littleness of mind”. Definitely nothing complimentary in these definitions.

As language continued to evolve though, the word humility became more closely associated with its Latin root, “humus” meaning “earth”, indicating someone who is grounded, solid. And while there are moments, days and sometimes entire weeks when I don’t feel particularly grounded, it’s what I strive to achieve.

Being grounded allows us to interact with others, and ourselves, with confidence.

The need to talk about ourselves, our achievements, our opinions … disappears. We are free to give our energy and focus to the prospect/client/customer in front of us. This is the very foundation of storyfinding.

C.S. Lewis expresses this much more succinctly:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

When we embrace our humility, all the skills of storyfinding easily rise to the surface. We become deeply curious, sincerely empathetic and magically intuitive. We inspire fabulous conversations that allow us to hear, feel and create what our prospects/clients/customers truly need.

This post and its accompanying video (to be published next week) is the final installment in the storyfinding series I began on September 12, 2021. It is the blueprint for my next book and I would be grateful for your feedback. What has been valuable for you? Or uninteresting? What else would you include? Or remove? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or send along an email to maryjane@thephonelady.com

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Explore more articles about storyfinding here.

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