"All the truly transformed people I have ever met are characterized by what I would call radical humility. They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are simply an instrument. Their genius is not their own; it is borrowed. They end up doing generative and expansive things precisely because they do not take first or final responsibility for their gift; they don't worry too much about their failures, nor do they need to promote themselves. Their life is not their own, yet at some level they know that it has been given to them as a sacred trust. Such people just live in gratitude and confidence and try to let the flow continue through them. They know that love can be repaid by love alone."
COMMUNITY VOICES: Interview with Lars Lider
Why does this quote speak to you?
I love this quote because it's soo freeing. I read this within the same week I was asked by my counselor if I ever feel an exhausted feeling like I always have to have all the answers. I've had my own struggles with feeling like I'm smart or not but this quote frees me from that finite mindset. It changes the conversation from a pecking order to one that focuses more on how well we listen to the divine, process and ultimately lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.
I'm obsessed with achievement and this quote reframes what "success" and "smart are." For me the concept in the quote removes arrogance and posturing around how smart you are when you realize it is not yours to posture. It’s also a needed reminder that far too often we try and win people's affection by telling them about all of our achievements. This always has the opposite effect and makes us push away from those who constantly self promote.
How do you apply this at work?
It doesn't happen every day but quite often God speaks to me about work. He'll tell me little things like what the company needs today, how to approach someone in a meeting or hard conversation. He will tell me things in the middle of conversations that help me understand the root cause of an issue. I know it's God's voice because it's always about the human element in business, never numbers or strategy.
As an example, I had to give a performance review with an employee that I've been really struggling with a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't looking forward to the meeting and I was struggling to understand why there were issues. Within the first minute, they made the comment about being scared to fail. It's in moments like that, God nudges me and makes it clear that that's really the issue, not technical skills, personality, or anything else. Just being scared to fail and the negative impact that aspect of company culture has had on their performance. I steered our conversation to the fear of failure and tried to reset expectations. The next day the employee was back to their best self. They told me they couldn't stop thinking about the fear of failure and how that entirely changed their outlook both personally and professionally. They were starting to experience freedom. Other times God will give me a word for my day at work. He'll tell me I need to be kind, compassionate, stoked, fun etc.
Do you know anyone who embodies this?
I don't think we ever arrive on this one but I know a lot of people that are well on their way. I'm always struck when I meet someone and my impression is how highly they speak of others, how willing to help and how curious they are. They don't self promote, then later you find out about their "accomplishments" and think, “ damn, what a hero.”
How do you keep this in front of you?
I continue to show up in the mornings and ask God what he has for my day. I try and immediately acknowledge how my successes are linked to God's advice.
How do you keep this flow going?
I continue to ask and to work on myself. Counseling has been seriously impactful for me to understand myself better and hear this voice more clearly. It has also helped me to shed my obsession with worldly success and reframe it to the success the quote speaks of. Finally, I find healthy outlets to talk about my career, "success" and achievement topics. I aim to really let the arrogant side me get aired out with folks that love me for who I am and not because of what I've achieved. This helps me rebalance and sort out that side me that isn't working toward the ideal in the quote.