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Ever wonder what’s the best way to open people up and make them feel good? Try a little “Humbility” in your conversations. Humbility is simply a big ego cloaked in a slightly bigger humility. You can use Humbility to cement the foundations of relationships for friendship, business and love.
In my travels around the world talking to corporations I get to spend time with many top performers as part of the briefing process. Almost without fail these superstars are loaded with “Humbility.” Their focused ego makes them competitive. while their genuine humility makes them approachable and confide-able. By ego, I don’t mean a sense of superiority but a super-awareness of their identity, ambitions and “abilities.” We all have an ego – it comes bundled with our natural-born Superpowers .
In Singapore I chatted happily with a modest, polite young woman in her early thirties. She outsold her closest rival in a global Assurance company by five hundred percent. In New Orleans I spoke with an easy-going, friendly man in his mid-forties. He was the number one sales person for one of the biggest real estate companies in the world. These two were shining examples of Humbility.
You don’t have to look far to find Humbility in the headlines. Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett all have enormous egos but accompany them with a slightly larger humility (most of the time). The feisty Nelson Mandela admitted on Oprah that it was his humility that got him through his terrible years in prison on Robben Island.
Here’s a little story that demonstrates Humbility.
Benjamin Disraeli became a Member of the Parliament of Great Britain at thirty-three, and its prime minister at sixty-four. Disraeli’s main political rival was William Gladstone, a four-time Liberal prime minister who was renowned for his abilities as a speaker.
One evening, Mr. Gladstone took a young woman out to dinner: the following evening the same woman had dinner with Mr. Disraeli. Asked later what impressions the two distinguished men had made upon her, she replied, “After dining with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest person in England . But after dining with Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest person in England .”
Two eloquent, intelligent men: two completely different results. Judging by what we know of their reputations, Mr. Gladstone may have spent more time focusing the conversational spotlight on himself than on his guest while Mr. Disraeli did the exact opposite. Perhaps Mr. Gladstone spent more time talking than his guest, while Mr. Disraeli made sure the opposite occurred. Mr. Disraeli used Humbility to connect and build a relationship at a level much deeper, and more memorable, than a simple social, or business contact.