Hello again everyone!
When is the last time you took out the garbage? For me it was just last week. Seems like a simple task, but it was while taking out the garbage that it became clear what my next post would be about. In fact, taking out the garbage is the basis of what I believe to be the single most important trait every good leader must possess. So what does taking out the garbage have to do with leadership anyway? Keep reading…
Certainly there are many different opportunities for us to be good leaders, even in our everyday lives. Perhaps you are a leader in your ACN business, in your church congregation, on a sports team, in your current job, or perhaps you are seen as a leader in your family or among your group of friends. Regardless, the single most important characteristic I believe that every good leader must possess is humility; it is absolutely non-negotiable. Now, it is easy to talk about being humble, and for some people it comes naturally, but I have observed people and recognized that humility is one of the easiest things to lose. It can be here one minute and gone the next. So how do you remain humble?
A good place to start is by always appreciating the talents of others. You may think you are the best at what you do, but I can assure you that no matter how good you are at something, there is probably someone out there who is better. So instead of being intimidated by others’ strengths, use those strengths to challenge yourself to do and be better. Then take that one step further and surround yourself with people who you feel are better and smarter than you. It is a fact that ACN absolutely would not be where we are today had we not surrounded ourselves with people smarter than we were in the very beginning…and we’re still doing it today almost 20 years later.
Next, know your own limitations. We can’t all be experts at everything we do, so identify your limitations and take steps to overcome them. Just because we aren’t in school doesn’t mean we should give up on learning new things. Become a student of life, continue learning and remain coachable. And more importantly don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The mistakes and challenges along the way are what give us new opportunities to rise. And remember, if you aren’t making mistakes, then you probably aren’t doing anything worthwhile.
Be a servant leader and be sure to always give back to others along the way. Of course it makes us feel good that as a company we are able to donate millions of dollars to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, but that isn’t why we do it. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. See it’s not about having it’s about helping. Put the needs of those around you first, always remember where you came from and the challenges you faced along the way, and make it your mission to make the road smoother for others who follow in your footsteps. And don’t get wrapped up in the things that don’t matter; things like fancy titles or expensive toys. Being a leader isn’t about having a fancy office or an impressive title. Remember, you should never believe your own press. In fact, the best leaders don’t care about titles because quite simply, titles don’t determine our worth, they don’t define our character and they couldn’t begin to categorize our potential. All of these things come from within, from who we are as individuals. Don’t become too big to do the small things or you will be too small to receive the big things.
Now, back to the garbage…
More importantly than anything else I could tell you on the subject of humility is to never forget your own roots and to surround yourself with people who keep you humble. No matter how big or how successful ACN becomes, it always has and always will be my job at home to take out the garbage. See, my wife knew me long before ACN, and in her eyes I’m Greg, her husband. And with my kids, I’m dad first. In fact, I was and still am an average dad who watched my kids’ sporting events, nagged them to do their homework and keep their rooms clean, and I am sure I probably even embarrassed them at times. To my family I am a husband and a father first, and it is this important, everyday role in my family, a role held by millions of people around the world that fills my tank, makes me realize what’s really important – and more than anything else, it’s this role that keeps me humble.
So I ask you this, is your humility showing? If so, keep wearing it proudly. I can assure you it is one of the things the people in your life love and appreciate most about you. Leave a comment below to share what keeps you humble. And if your humility isn’t showing, that is ok too. Take out the garbage…it does wonders for the soul.
Until garbage day,
ACN President and Co-Founder