My father, The General, is perhaps the most humble, yet incredibly accomplished man I know. He served 41 years in the military. During that time, he received a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars for Valor and a Purple Heart. He also earned a Master’s Degree and a Ph. D. His career gave him an opportunity to leave a legacy at West Point as the Head of the Department of Physical Education, which included integrating women into the academy. During his tenure, he trained over 23,000 West Point graduates. Over the past year, I have heard multiple 2 and 3 star generals refer to my father as “a legend.”
Yet, when anyone meets him today, they would never know this background. His entire life, he has exercised the Humility we discuss in our book, Becoming a Leader of Character. We defined Humility as: “Believing and acting like ‘It’s not about me.’” My father has never made it about him. The example he models to not only me—but to my children as well—is priceless.
My son is an incredibly gifted man who graduated from college in four years with three majors. Yet, even with these accomplishments I have watched him act like “It’s not about me.” since he was a young high school athlete. He was not a starter in those early years, but he was always the first one off the bench to encourage his teammates or bring them water during timeouts. From the beginning, he was there for the team. When he became a starter, he never liked it when I pointed out how well he played if the team lost. He did not care about the personal accolades. He wanted his team to do well.
Personally, I struggle with Humility. When I take the Character Assessment at www.MYCHARACTERTEST.com, I score lowest in Humility. I have to work hard in that area of my character. Perhaps Humility skipped a generation! I attribute my son’s Humility to my father’s example—and I deeply value this.
A leader who is both confident and humble at the same time can be an inspiration to everyone. This is the true legacy of a leader. My father has exemplified it his entire life and his legacy is rippling two generations beyond him.
For a sneak peek of The General, I invite you view his History Channel interview.
Dig Deep Questions:
Who do you admire who demonstrates Humility?
How does Humility build a legacy for them?
Making a shift towards taking responsibility and living with Humility is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Humility daily, which is why we have created our Habits of Character Action Guides.
The Humility Action Guide offers you a month of daily, interactive training complete with a daily reading, dig deep questions, weekly processing guides and instructions on how to use the guide both individually and with your team. The Humility Action Guide is now available here.
We are behind you, championing for you, your teams and your organizations as you become the leader you wish you had. We want to come alongside you as you grow to confidently answer “yes” to the question, “Would you follow you?”