Becoming Less Humble

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Becoming Less Humble

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True humility is not thinking less of yourself;

It is thinking of yourself less.

C.S. Lewis

My friend and colleague Joel Bancroft-Connors was the most recent person who gave me feedback that I might be too humble. I know, I know, but keep reading.

Joel was listening to one of my Meta-cast podcasts and he mentioned that I had a tendency to minimize or downplay or undercut my own skills and experience when sharing in a variety of forums. He’s listened to me in webinars, in live sessions, and in podcasts. And he said I often undermine my ideas, stories, and recommendations by being or seeming to be too humble while sharing advice.

It’s certainly something I’ve heard before and that I’m aware of. But I have a challenge with my ego and not wanting to be braggadocios or full of myself. I believe the roots of it go back to my childhood and how I was raised. I also don’t like to think of myself as some sort of “agile expert”, even though I am. And I guess I’m not all that comfortable being in the spotlight.

But Joel’s feedback was that I appeared so minimal at times that my experience might not be taken with the weight or importance it deserved. His point was—Bob, you’ve been coaching for decades. You’ve got tons of real-world experience. You are genuine and well-intentioned. So, act like it. Don’t minimize who you are, what you’ve earned, and what you have to offer.

And, while I’ve been working on just this, Joel’s feedback renewed my focus on rebalancing my humility when I’m teaching, writing, or coaching.

The essence of my takeaway from all of the feedback is—Bob, remain humble AND powerful.

Then, just a few days ago, I ran across this LinkedIn post by Lena Popretinskaya

How many “Yeah, but…”s are there in your life?

“Yeah, I did this … but it’s not that big of a deal. And by the way, I still was/did .”

“Yeah, I work on this project, but it is not that difficult.”
“Yeah, I’ve got that job, but I was lucky.” 
“Yeah, I am a part of a team, but my contribution is not that much.”
“Yeah, I moved countries, but it wasn’t that challenging.”
“Yeah, I decided to change a career, but I had to wait till life forced me.” 

I am prone to it myself. I keep seeing it again and again in the coaching sessions.

Your efforts and progress may not look like a big deal to you. 
But it’s not a small deal either.
You still did it. 
You still own it to yourself to acknowledge the efforts and progress.
Even if it doesn’t feel like much to you – it does matter.
If you keep discarding your progress, it will never feel enough.
You will keep wondering why you keep doubting yourself.
If you keep making yourself smaller, you will never feel genuine self-esteem.

It is you who says “Yes” to opportunities when “luck” presents them.
It is you who puts the effort.
When life strikes, it is you who decide at one point to go for a change rather than remain in pits of despair.

Humility does mean acknowledging your limits and not puffing up with arrogant pride.
But acknowledging efforts and progress is not arrogance.
Humility also means acknowledging yourself for who you are and your efforts.

Which touched the same nerve that Joel had. And continued to reinforce my efforts to become more humility balanced.

While I’ve been aware of this habit I have for a long time, it seems the universe has conspired to give me a hard dose of it in the past few weeks.

And I’m grateful to Joel and Lena for the affirmations.

You see, I am enough, I am an agile expert who has worked hard in this space for over 20-years. And I need to show up not apologizing or minimizing all of that hard work. But instead, embracing it and sharing it with boldness…and a little humility.

And the C.S Lewis quote is becoming my mantra to do just that.

Stay agile my friends,


BTW: Here’s an article that nicely supports my thoughts.


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