Humility is uncovering your guarded soul to invite others to warm themselves by the glow of your open heart.
What if you had to write a resume for your life? One that didn’t include the letters behind your name to prove your worth. One without the most popular template or keywords. A resume not focused on your professional achievements but your personal performance. Would you be proud of it? What keywords would your friends and family include of you as highlights to represent the essence of you?
Resumes are a place to showcase your skills and to prove you can stand out in an overachieving crowd. You must prove you are not only qualified, but highly motivated, creative, and dedicated to your potential employer. You have seconds to grab someone’s attention with, quite honestly, an immodest and possibly grandiose description of your experience. The entire purpose of this document is to put humility aside, get noticed and obtain an interview, in which you can even further portray you are suited for a position.
Now, imagine at the end of your life, you sat down to write a resume to provide a “snapshot” of your life. To begin your next chapter, you need to capture your most meaningful qualities, memories, and experiences. You must quantify how you have left the world a better place. How difficult would it be to put pen to paper? Would you deem your life a success?
The characteristics you bring into your work life and your home life may look entirely different or they may intersect. Personally, I think we are most successful when our worlds connect. One quality I would encourage you to embrace in both arenas is humility. As a parent, spouse, co-worker, leader, in any relationship really, humility demonstrates compassion and understanding. Humility does not make you timid, like some may believe, but in fact, can offer you great power in life.
Humility takes away the need to impress, to use others to your advantage, to focus on the sidelines. Humility is a good listener and showcases respect. It appreciates differences and accepts weaknesses, especially our own. Humility avoids assumptions and judgments. Humility leaves people better than when it found them.
Practicing humility at work or in business can feel like taking your armor off. It can leave you feeling intensely vulnerable. Being the one to admit imperfection may feel like a massive disadvantage. On the contrary, humility is a quality that will play in your favor. Humility will allow you to surround yourself with people who make up for your shortcomings. With humility comes a great deal of self-awareness, which allows for learning and growth, keys to effective work. It also creates a buffer for those times we fall, and we all fall. In our work worlds, members of the ego and arrogance committee stumble, and their counterparts quietly cheer. When you are humble and need to be lifted up again, forgiveness comes much more quickly.
This is no different in our personal lives. The lesson of humility at home is even more valuable. We may even feel more exposed conceding our flaws to the people we love most. But those people, our people, NEED to see we are human and humble and graceful. They need our example and our acceptance most. They need our support, our participation in their success and growth, and the knowledge that perfection is not the goal. It is a blessing for them to see our missteps and how we move forward from defeat. It will guide your relationships and allow for a closeness and comfort that cannot be achieved with even a hint of arrogance. Humility with the people we love needs to top our qualification catalog, they are the ones who will make up the references to your life resume after all.
So how do you add humility to your resume?
Listen – this is at the core of humility and developing and maintaining relationships.
Show vulnerability – we are at our best real and raw, and every person in our life can appreciate our guard going down.
Admit mistakes – taking ownership of our oversights shows the people around us it is ok to have their own mishaps to learn from.
Show empathy – embrace understanding and be present with the people around you.
Practice gratitude – we cannot be humble if we are not thankful.
There can be a tortuous balance at times between work and life. To create harmony between the two, consider your life resume and what qualities you can use to bridge the divide. If humility is not on that list, practice until you can confidently own your humbleness, quietly of course. And when you can sit down and create a resume for your life that you are modestly proud of, know that your goodness will move mountains.
Jamie Westerman is a family practice nurse practitioner in rural Minnesota, the owner of a health and wellness business, a single mom, and author of the blog Heartheaded Living. She is an expert on bringing together the mind-body connection and believes in all-encompassing well-being. Formerly a hardheaded and analytical thinker, she has shifted her approach to life and business by leading with her heart and encourages others to make this life-changing transformation as well. You can read more about her journey and how to revolutionize your own at www.heartheadedliving.com.