As Soon As You Think You're Humble, You've Lost It!
Matt: Where are you from?
Paul: I live in Devon UK with my family and we are renovating a crazy old house in the middle of nowhere - it’s wonderful!
Matt: So how long have you wanted to write a book?
Paul: Over the last few years a few of my friends and mentors have been telling me they feel there is a book inside me that they wanted to encourage me to write. Recently I had a 12 week sabbatical from work and I thought here is a unique opportunity to do some writing - so I wrote my book!
Matt: Was there anything you had to overcome to write your book?
Paul: I’m much more of a verbal communicator than a writer. I'm used to speaking in front of lots of people so my instinct is to write as I speak which isn’t always the best. So one of the things I had to overcome was just getting my mindset around that.
Matt: Your book is about humility - how do you describe humility to the young people you work with?
Paul: I think a good way to explain humility is to look at the opposite. So what's the opposite of humility? It's pride, ego and all of those things. Humility is about lowering ourselves, thinking of ourselves less and serving other people. It’s also important to say there is a big difference between being humbled when you do something that makes you look stupid and choosing to be humble.
Matt: What is the main takeaway from your book about humility?
Paul: That people will have a desire to lead differently, to lead their teams differently. To be more honest, more open, more approachable, more teachable and more humble themselves. That they would fiercely fight against pride as Jesus did amongst his followers. In terms of leadership humility is a fundamental actually, I don’t want to call it a value, it is part of the DNA.
Right now we have many leadership examples that are focused on celebrity, ego and status. I think there’s more that a little cynicism and scepticism around that style of leadership. I believe we can encourage greater leadership humility.
Matt: Writing a book can be like journalling on steroids - what reflections did you make as you wrote the book?
Paul: I am really passionate about trying to model humility within the team I lead and also recognising I am a million miles away and have so much to learn. So I had the opportunity to really dig in and study and think more deeply. I honestly felt like I was doing heart surgery on myself. At the end of the book I reflect that as soon as you think you're humble, you've lost it! So I am going on a journey of continually pursuing humility in my own life.
Matt: So how do you think the people around you will have noticed you are leading with humility?
Paul: Great question! I'd like to think my team see me asking more questions,
listening more rather than than needing to control or be so corrective. And hopefully, a bit more chilled out in the process, because its capability is about letting go.
Matt: What’s your final encouragement to us about humility?
Paul: If we really want to go after humility, we've got to have people around us who spot our blind spots, point them out and encourage us. Also not to take ourselves too seriously!