Two Christmases ago, my family and I were trapped at the Chicago airport on our way home to Portland, Oregon because of severe snowstorms. Once I accepted the several-hour waiting, I decided my purse needed its weekly cleaning out and headed toward the large trashcan. (Whenever I start to lean too far to the right or left I know my purse is overflowing!)
Upon my arrival to the quarter-full trashcan, a man placed his palm in front of my face indicating that I should wait. He worked as a janitor for the airport. Methodically, he replaced the trash bag, taking his time working his fingers around the can to ensure the bag would not collapse inside. Then, he waved his hand to me with a slight bow letting me know I could proceed.
As I tossed the banana peel, apple core, crumpled receipts and protein bar wrappers in the fresh trash bag, I heard the still, small voice say, “Pam, the way you were treated is the way I want you to respond to every person and every opportunity I place in front of you — that’s what humility looks like.”
I turned around and raced past several gates until I found the kind man.
“Excuse me, sir. Why did you just do what you did?” Eduardo (whose name I soon discovered) gently replied, “It’s my job to make every person who walks through this airport feel they matter.”
Sitting down next to my family, I thought to myself how I believe every person matters. The question was, does every person I come in contact with feel that they matter? And that’s when Eduardo’s presence, his entire demeanor – the way he held his eyes, his lack of feeling rushed or in a hurry, his focus on making my experience more comfortable than his own, his simplicity and his tone of voice – coached me in my life, teaching, mentoring and writing.
In humility, consider others.
In a media-saturated world where the enemy is badgering us to say yes to a preoccupation with self, God’s Word fell fresh upon my spirit that December day. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Humility is a strong and effective noun for us to consider as leaders. A leader’s humble demeanor will mentor those closest to her more than her knowledge, position, skills, drive or education; our humility is what considers others.
BONUS: Leave a Comment sharing how you recognize humility in other leaders and be entered to win a copy of Pamela’s new book, A Friend in Me. Winner will be selected randomly from all comments submitted by January 20, 2016.