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The humbling experience

Many of them went out into the job market looking for their next leadership role thinking that everybody wants to hire them. I too suffered from this delusion. That was seven months ago.


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When it comes to work, everybody has a price in the marketplace. Whether your value is in a product, your knowledge, education, experience, creativity, brand, potential, one of these, or all of these, the marketplace has a range for you. And you will feel everything from frustration to envy, but you must focus on the bigger picture at hand. Sometimes you have to do the small things in order to prepare you for great things.

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About 10 years ago I was leading the training and development function for a multi billion dollar construction materials company. During that time I created a leadership development program that had tremendous impact on the organizations and changed the lives of many. With my success came a ton of praise and a lot of attention.

13 humbling experiences that will change you forever

While others my age were cutting their teeth on stretch asments I was running a highly effective department. While my peers were vying for the attention of our CEO, I was sipping the best of Napa Valley with him in first class. I was 29 years old and arrogant.

My humbling experience struck like a lightning bolt and felt like a punch to the gut. It was during the delivery of my annual leadership program that I had several leaders pull me aside to tell me that they thought I was arrogant and hypocritical.

They said they were concerned about the quality of their experience and requested I consider changing some of my behaviors. I was mortified.

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I ended up breaking down in tears first and only time in my career in front of the entire leadership group. They sat starring dumbfounded and completely uncomfortable while I sorted through sobs.

A few weeks later I was turned down for a global promotion I was the only one in the running for. It goes without saying, these are not my most proud moments and its vulnerable to share them with you now. But this was the experience that broke me and got my attention. This was my Humbling Experience.

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I define arrogance as the lack of appreciation for the strengths and contributions of others. I define the Humbling Experience as the opportunity to practice humility. When we are arrogant, The Humbling Experience will find us. It use to be that when I looked back on my humbling experience I would do it with a wince and a whimper. But with time I can face it front and center.

I can share it with thousands reading this now. It has no power over me but instead it empowers me. I have my humbling experience to thank for that.

An amazing and humbling experience

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