“Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.“
Blouse – H&M (similar) || Skirt – Madewell (similar: 1 / 2) || Wedges – Stuart Weitzman ‘Corkswoon’ || Purse – Alexander McQueen ‘Heroine’ (obsessed, medium in black) || Necklace – c/o Maps by A. Jaffe || Sunglasses – Karen Walker c/o Ditto (get your first month free with code ‘StewSunnies’) || Nails – Christian Louboutin in ‘Just Nothing’ || Hair – c/o Jordan at Dennis Bartholomei || Make-Up – c/o Jenna
Photos courtesy of blogger Heidi
Over the past four years my life has changed A LOT. So much more than I ever could have imagined.
I went from full-time bond analyst to full-time photographer and Chicago blogger in what feels like the blink of an eye. And I’ve had more experiences and opportunities in the last two years I’ve been blogging than I ever could have dreamed of.
But one of the downsides to my new job is, quite frankly, the egos in my industry. The people who, either ethically or unethically obtain 30k followings on Instagram and suddenly turn into VERY different people.
They expect brands and restaurants to always pick up the tab. They expect people to follow along with their lives as if they were a celebrity in their own right. They expect A LOT just because of who they are.
Don’t even get me started on some of the behaviors I’ve seen from people who regularly buy their Instagram followers to “grow their business” and “set new trends”.
And while some of these behaviors are 100% warranted (hey, regardless of what people may think, this is a legitimate job with lots of long hours and little pay or thanks), there are weeks when the community could really use a strong dose of reality.
Here we all are doing so many amazing, cool things for our JOBS. Maybe it’s because I came from the corporate world but that in itself is something I am grateful for everyday. That my job feels fun and creative is such a LIFT from the traditional office lifestyle I had only a few years ago.
And yet the way some of the people in the community act… well, let’s just say they’re long overdue a mega slice of humble pie.
So today I’m sharing three of the best techniques I’ve found to prevent myself from falling into the same trap. The 3 best ways I’ve found to constantly practice humility EVERYDAY. And while I am FAR from perfect at it (I do regularly fall into these traps myself), I find exercising my humility muscles each day not only brings me peace of mind but also true and sustainable success in life.
3 Easy Ways to Practice Humility
1. Be Grateful and Say Thank You
Like, really say thank you. Say thank you for small things and big things. Stop expecting so much and start focusing on being grateful for what you have.
Send thank you notes when friends or family go out of their way to help you. Do you best to give back as much positivity as you receive from others. One simple act of gratitude can be a powerful and beneficial boost to your friends and loved ones.
If nothing more, it makes people feel valued to be earnestly thanked for their time and efforts — a psychological high-five that helps drive them to do more and better things too. And the more of us there are feeling driven to do more and better things, the better we all are as a whole because we are only as strong as our weakest link.
2. Practice Little Acts of Kindness No One Will See
This one may be my favorite way to practice humility. When I lived in India for 5 months in 2007, my homestay family in Jaipur taught me ALL about karma. And, to be honest, I’ve seen karma happen with my own eyes more times than I care to count. I truly believe all the negativity or positivity you bring into this world will come back to you three-fold. But one of the things I find most interesting about karma is how much extra karma you build when no one KNOWS when you’ve done a good deed. Being kind so you’ll get praise and attention from others doesn’t earn you nearly as much karma as it does if you do it anonymously.
Like when you pick up the garbage on the street in front of your elderly neighbors house because you know she shouldn’t be out in the hot summer heat. Like when you leave an anonymous positive message on a friend’s apartment door when you know they’re having a rough week. Or when you leave out a carrot for that bunny you know lives under your deck only to see him happily chomping on it 3 minutes later.
Being kind is a generous and humble act. But being kind without any expectation of reward is the best humility exercise I’ve ever found.
3. Give Earnest Compliments and Praise
We live in a world that idolizes the “mean girl” — the sort of girl who will give you a compliment on something they don’t like if only to tear you down later and laugh that you believed the compliment at all. If you’ve read anything on Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development then you know as well as I do that these people hurt themselves more than anyone else behaving the way they do. They think they’ve got the world figured out, all the while having no idea they’re stuck in Stages 1, 2, and 3 which frequently end up degrading the community as a whole, helping them in the short-term but seriously hurting them and their credibility in the long-term. I see a lot of cruelty, petty behaviors, and time-wasters dole out compliments to girls only to rip them apart moments later.
The sad truth is they truly believe they’re superior beings — every compliment and piece of praise is a power play, calculated to secure their place in the pecking order. By tearing you down through insincerity they actually feel lifted up, a farce that will only play out far down the line for them. I swear I’ve seen financial traders stealing million dollar secrets from one another who somehow STILL manage to be more civilized to one another than some of these girls (and guys too).
It’s time for the age of the earnest compliment to come back, don’t you think? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to go around littering others with half-hearted compliments. I’m talking about genuine compliments and praise for a job well done. Like when one of your friends wears that red dress that makes her look SPECTACULAR — tell her. When your Mom is doing a great job caring for your elderly grandparents — remind her that she’s doing an amazing job. Or when your spouse FINALLY gets that deal they’ve been hoping for — TELL them how proud you are.
One earnest compliment can really make a difference. I remember one day I was walking the dogs through the neighborhood frazzled about the four deadlines I had later that day and annoyed that the dogs wanted to take their sweet time to “smell the roses” on our walk. Suddenly I felt a gentle tug on my arm and looked down to see an 8 year old boy holding out a business card to me. I took it and he ran instantly. The card said “you are beautiful”. It stopped me dead in my tracks. That simple compliment from a complete stranger somehow managed to recharge my battery and I blasted through my deadlines that night like a champ. I still have the card and have since printed more so I can pay forward the kindness to others.
It’s hard to ever know what others around you are going through — one genuine compliment is often EXACTLY what the doctor ordered!