As many of you know, I’ve announced a Humble for President campaign, a non-partisan, grassroots movement calling on this nation’s next president—and all leaders and citizens—to adopt a new spirit of humility: an unvarnished virtue that has the potential to transform not only our politics, but our everyday lives and leadership. We need secure, confident, humble leaders.
Today, I want to look at the examples set by three everyday leaders who led and lead with humility. These people aren’t perfect. But we can learn from their positive example.
Here are three leaders who led with true humility.
1. Neil Armstrong
Recently, we lost a true humble American hero when Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died. One of his most praised qualities was his humility.
Even though he had every reason to have an astronomical ego, he went about his job with a quiet strength and confident competency. And he did it all for $8 per diem, in addition to a $17,000-a-year salary. He explored the heavens, but when he returned from his journey to the moon, he kept his feet firmly planted on the Earth.
For the longest time after returning, he denied giving interviews. Finally, Armstrong talked to the author James Clash. When Armstrong died, Clash said of his legacy:
“That’s the kind of man Armstrong was. In a world where everything is about ‘me, me, and me,’ he was a rare throwback to a time when humility and character counted, when people routinely risked their lives not to get rich, bloviate, or self-aggrandize, but for their country, science, and exploration.”
2. Tim Tebow
Say what you will about his talent as a quarterback, but Tebow has reacted to the enormous media pressure placed upon him with poise and humility.
In interviews, reporters have to coax him to talk about himself. He rarely takes credit for successes, but always takes responsibility for failures. He doesn’t talk about himself, but directs attention toward his team.
When an ESPN poll identified him as America’s most popular athlete earlier this year, here was his humble response: “It tells me they have a lot of crazy polls out there. I hope people see I’m real and genuine. I hope they see that I make a ton of mistakes but that I always get back up and try again.”
3. Captain “Sully” Sullenberger
After successfully piloting Flight 1549 to safety in the Hudson River, saving more than 150 passengers in the process, Captain Sully exemplified humility as few could. In an interview after the crash, he was modest about his acts of courage, attributing his poise to his training over the years.
“One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years,” he said. “I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”
Question: Who are some everyday humble leaders you know? What makes them humble? Leave a comment below.