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Humility vs. Humiliation

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5 Ways Humility Helps Business

I write this not as one who has this all figured out but as one who is processing my thoughts. I would love feedback on this.

“Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of great men; for it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen.  Proverbs 25:6-7

1. Focus on Value

In business development, I have experienced different methods that actually do not come across as humble. Does calling a person out of the blue and interrupting their day seem helpful?  Does knocking on someone’s door for dinner seem helpful. I know we have to get people’s attention but it is best if we can deliver value quickly. If we are going to interrupt them, then we need to give something of value. Should we claim time with an owner of a company or leader without adding value?  It is easy to lose focus of this and I am to blame sometimes.

The best strategy for getting a meeting with someone is to add value in some way. What do I mean by adding value:

  1. Increase Profit (More Revenue or Less expense)
  2. Save Time
  3. Increase their impact and influence.

Check out “How Valuable Are You” for more about this.

2. Character of a Great Person

If we want to stand before great leaders and be influential, we need the character of a great person. I think of integrity, trustworthiness, kindness, generosity, and being a servant leader. Check out Jesus on Leadership: Timeless Wisdom on Servant Leadership for more information on this. Great character is something that builds throughout our life and can we can lose the character of a great person quickly. We have to stand on guard against the temptation to sabotage our good character.

3. Respect for Others

There are so many ways that we respect other people. Areas that I am focussing on is to be on time and properly prepared for meetings. This week I was so overbooked with work, that I had to bow out of three meetings. I know this was disrespectful. Yes, I had decent excuses but the lack of respect came when I over-committed to begin with. I know this seems harsh, but respect is more than such saying “please” and “thank you”. We respect people when we consider their needs above ourselves and we follow through our commitments.

4. Empathy

This week I started to rant about a person to someone else. I was very judgmental in my words and frustrated. At any time before or during the rant I did not try to understand the perspective of the other person. Once I sat back and thought more about the person’s perspective and responsibility, I realized that I was not being humble. And of course didn’t feel any better about the problem after the rant. I used the think that venting is what was needed to help work through frustrations. The problem is that venting doesn’t necessary solve the problem. It probably would be better to take a break, workout, pray, or something to strive to understand the person or situation before venting.

5. Invest in Yourself 

I remember when I passed my CPA exam, I had the thought that I was done studying. After studying to get Bachelors and Masters in Business and studying hard to pass the CPA exam, I didn’t want to study anymore. The thought was anything from humble. This type of thinking indicates that I knew everything there was to know about accounting, finance, and business that I didn’t need to study anymore.

We all have so much to learn. If we aren’t investing in ourselves, then we aren’t being humble. Information and technology are changing at such a rapid pace that we have to keep reading, studying, and learning to get better. Skills such as leadership, communication, empathy, and listening can be continually improved. Creativity, productivity, discipline, and focus need to be developed and require time, energy, and commitment.


We all desire to be recognized for our accomplishments. Most people desire to be looked as a great man or woman and have the opportunity to bend the ear of leaders of power and influence. By developing the character of a great person, respect and empathy, investing in ourselves, and finally adding value, we can become that person. At that point, we will experience success and excellence. I know I have much to learn in these areas.

I want to know your thoughts. In what ways has humility helped you in business or life? What are way humility is misinterpreted or misused?