Are You Letting Humility Get In The Way Of Success?

August 15, 2019  |  
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successful women in business

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Failure to succeed is often discussed. It’s a common and understood concept. But I believe there is a part of that fear that isn’t talked about enough, and is maybe the main issue for many individuals, and that is this: failure to be the type of person who succeeds. For many (including me) it isn’t the success that frightens us, but the many micro decisions we’ll have to make along the way, and how those might challenge our core values. There are a lot of highly successful individuals out there who don’t exactly give greatness a good reputation. We can all think of a few. They have major egos. They are narcissists. They are selfish. They are pushy. They are manipulative. And it makes sense: some degree of egotism must exist if you’re going to achieve greatness. Those who do achieve success believed they could do what few people can. Of course there is some ego there. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing—narcissistic a**hole or humble doormat. There’s a middle ground. That being said, are you letting humility get in the way of success?


You nominate others instead of yourself

When an opportunity arises for advancement, you first look around you—not at yourself—for a nominee. You don’t throw your name into the hat. That feels egotistical to you. That feels selfish. You think of all the others who deserve it more or who are more prepared.


You downplay your achievements

When someone tries to praise you for all of your accomplishments, you downplay them. You say that it really wasn’t that hard, that it’s not a big deal, and that anyone could do it. You do this for fear of being one of those annoying people who exaggerate their achievements, but you’re overcorrecting.


You worry about mismanaging priorities

When you think of greatness—of status, success, and all of the attention and obligations and appearances that come with that—you worry about mismanaging your priorities. You worry about becoming distant from your loved ones, about missing date night, and missing a friend’s birthday party. But remember: you’re still you. You know what your values are. If those are firmly in place before you are successful, they’ll stay that way. It’s those who were lost before greatness that become even more lost in greatness.


You let others come first, always

Sometimes, you’ll have grand plans for how you’ll advance your own goals today. You want to attend a networking event or finally sit down and work on your website. But, your mom will call and ask you to grocery shop for her. Or your friend will ask for a ride to the airport. So you do this, instead of invest in yourself.


You don’t promote yourself

You do great things, and tell nobody. You finish something great, and post nothing about it on social media. Your work is featured at an event, and you invite nobody. But if you will not promote yourself, who will?


You only network “at your level”

The idea of networking makes you feel sticky and gross. But, you must remember that there are good and bad ways to network. It doesn’t all have to be fake and calculating. If there is someone who is more advanced than you whom you feel you’d genuinely like getting to know or working with, reach out.


You don’t apply to opportunities

When you become aware of an opportunity, you don’t apply. You think, “Who am I to think that I am someone they’d choose? They’ll laugh at my application.” But, look around you: many people far less prepared and talented than yourself are applying.


You don’t carry yourself with confidence

In general, you do not carry yourself as someone who believes she has something to offer to the conversation, or to the project. You don’t want to be one of those obnoxious people who monopolize conversation and try to alpha dog everyone. But, your thoughts are probably more valuable than theirs and yet, they are the ones talking.


You disagree with the statement, “I’m one of the best”

Saying the words, “I’m the best” or even “I’m one of the best” out loud makes you cringe. But, you do know, deep down, that you’re very good at what you do. However, vocalizing it and letting others know that you know it makes you uncomfortable.


You won’t apply “Until you’re ready”

You always have a reason not to apply to something. You tell yourself you aren’t ready. You tell yourself you have more to learn. You always have a reason—a “As soon as…” condition. But those who succeed don’t wait until they’re ready, per-say. They fake it until they make it.


But, you never believe you’re ready

The truth is that, you’ll never really feel ready. People who achieve greatness understand that. They take on challenges that exceed their current knowledge or skillset. If you wait until you feel ready, you’ll wait forever.


You have a lot of reasons why you can’t

You can always list plenty of reasons why you can’t do something, why it won’t work out, and why you aren’t the right person for it. You must understand that that’ll never get you anywhere. Start counting the reasons you can, and why you’re just the person for the job.



You focus on successful jerks

You think a lot about people who are successful who you don’t like. You fixate on them—on how you don’t want to wind up like them. How about, instead, you focus on people who are successful, and whose values align with yours?


You disagree with the statement, “I believe in myself”

To say, “I believe in myself,” out loud makes you uncomfortable. It makes you sad. It feels like a lie. Why? Is it because you think believing in yourself and being cocky are one and the same? They are not.


Saying, “I deserve this” makes you uncomfortable

You also hate to say that you deserve something. You feel like, when you say that, you are saying that others do not deserve it. But you can feel you deserve something, without taking something from others. And think of all the deserving people you will help when you achieve greatness. There’s plenty of pie to go around, and you know you’ll share yours.

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