Maybe you’ve observed this situation. Someone gets promoted to a role they have aspired to attain for years. Almost instantly, their communication takes on a new tone, and maybe arrogance creeps into their behaviors. Several years ago, I read an article about someone who had taken over my previous job. In the article, my successor talked about all the great things they had done but, in that process, represented the work that was done by the team before they took over as failure after failure. Taking pride in what you have done is one thing, but we should never forget that the work that preceded us set the stage for our successes. Everyone succeeding in our job is standing on the shoulders of giants. Being humble is a vital ingredient to being successful.
We know that reaching success in one’s career is an accomplishment that’s often marked by recognition, achievements, and accolades. It’s a moment that signifies the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and relentless pursuit of excellence. However, with success comes the challenge of staying humble, grounded, and true to oneself. In a world where ego and self-importance can easily take center stage, practicing humility at the zenith of your career is not just a virtue – it’s a necessity.
- Reflect on your journey – Take a moment to reflect on your career trajectory. Remember when you started your career and success seemed like a distant dream? Reflecting on your journey can remind you of the effort, sacrifices, and collaboration that got you where you are. No one succeeds in a vacuum; we are all a product of our past and others who led, coached and mentored us. This perspective can help you maintain a sense of gratitude and prevent feelings of entitlement.
- Embrace continuous learning – No matter how successful you become, there is always more to learn. Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and curiosity. Acknowledge that others possess knowledge and skills that you may not have. Engage in conversations with colleagues, mentors, and even those just starting out. Stay open to new ideas and perspectives – this approach will keep you humble and contribute to your ongoing growth.
- Share credit and acknowledge contributions – One of the hallmarks of humility is recognizing the contributions of others. Understand that your success is often built on the collaborative efforts of a team, mentors, supporters, and even family members. When you celebrate accomplishments, make it a point to share credit with those who played a role. This recognizes their efforts and underscores your appreciation for the collective journey.
- Stay grounded in values – As you climb the ladder of success, it’s easy to be swayed by external factors such as wealth, power, and recognition. To stay humble, stay connected to your core values. Let your principles guide your decisions and actions. Remember that your achievements reflect your commitment to your values and positive impact on others.
- Volunteer and give back – Volunteering and giving back to the community can be a humbling experience. Engaging in charitable activities or mentoring others can remind you of the broader context in which your success exists. It can also help you maintain a sense of empathy and compassion, which are essential to humility.
- Maintain a growth mindset – A growth mindset believes that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Embracing this mindset keeps you open to challenges and setbacks. It encourages you to view failures as opportunities for learning and improvement rather than as reflections of your worth. This outlook can prevent arrogance and help you stay humble.
- Seek constructive feedback – Feedback is invaluable even at the pinnacle of your career. Constructive criticism can help you see areas where you can improve and refine your skills. Actively seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, and peers. This demonstrates your willingness to learn and shows humility in accepting that no one is perfect.
- Practice gratitude daily – Gratitude is a powerful antidote to arrogance. Make it a habit to express gratitude for the opportunities, relationships, and experiences that have contributed to your success. This practice can foster a sense of humility by reminding you of the blessings in your life and the role that others have played in shaping your journey.
Staying humble at the pinnacle of your career requires an intentional effort to remain grounded, grateful, and open to growth. Taking pride in your accomplishments is essential but crosses a line when it presents as arrogance and entitlement. Embrace your achievements with grace and an understanding that success is a collective effort. By reflecting on your journey, practicing continuous learning, sharing credit, maintaining your values, giving back, nurturing a growth mindset, seeking feedback, and practicing gratitude; you can navigate the heights of success while staying true to yourself and those who have supported you along the way.