Being Humble to Get Ahead

Lisa Plain (Petkovsek) Blog

“If you want to get ahead, be humble”. This is the best career advice I’ve received, and it came from more than one person.

We understand being humble in the “don’t boast about yourself” sense, but what does that mean in our careers?

  • It means never feeling like you’re too advanced to help a new team member out. You might be the most senior on the team but if you see a fellow coworker struggling, lend a hand.
  • It’s not expecting your credentials to speak for themselves in an interview. As a wise advisor once told me, “your MBA means nothing without experience”. Show that you’re not afraid of hard work and have value to bring to the table.
  • It’s accepting that you don’t have all the answers. Those around you might do things differently but “it’s not wrong, only different”.
  • It could mean taking a horizontal job change because of the experience you’ll gain. That experience could be the thing that sets you apart one day.
  • It’s avoiding being the guy (or girl) who is out the door at 4:59 every day. Honour your out of work commitments, but giving the bare minimum will not help you get ahead.
  • And it might mean starting over when you discover your true passion, which can mean temporary pay cuts, or taking entry level roles. Every experience is valuable in your journey and you have to start somewhere.

If you find yourself saying “I deserve x”, or “That’s not in my job jar”, ask yourself if this way of thinking is helping or harming your opportunities.

Allow yourself to be of service to others, regardless of your role, and work hard to add value. The world holds a lot of wisdom if you’re open to new opinions and experiences.

Many of us understand the virtue of being humble in our personal lives, but how can this value help your career?