Humility is a really important character trait in my opinion. The most successful people I’ve ever met, people like Bill Gates, Michael Dell, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and several hall of fame hockey players are all largely humble people. They have a certain confidence to them for sure, but when it comes to sharing advice or engaging in a discussion, almost everyone I’ve ever met who has attained that level of success has a very strong dose of humility.
A few years back, I used to sit on the Dell Platinum Customer Council. A couple times a year we’d get together somewhere in Asia, Michael Dell would come and bring all of his executive team. There would be about 50 customers and they’d have breakout sessions on various topics and technologies that you could attend. Every day Michael and his team would have breakfast, lunch and dinner with you.
As I was one of the few native English speakers in attendance, Michael would gravitate towards sitting with me for meals and we’d talk about our kids or whatever non-work related – I don’t get star struck so that probably helped make it easier for him. He was a naturally shy person who had to be “on” all the time. He never talked about bike riding with his neighbour Lance Armstrong or the fact that he was a significant investor in the Four Seasons Hotels we stayed at. He was just an average guy trying not to stand out… who happened to have his own security detail. In the dozen or so times I met him over the years, he only ever displayed humility and good humour.
For me, humility resonates. I like humble people. They tend to be more empathetic and better listeners. I find these qualities admirable and I naturally gravitate towards people like this.
When you’re trying to build your business online, being humble can at times be difficult, particularly if part of what you’re selling is, well, you. Coaches, mentors, people who create info products and audience builders in general often have to “show their success” in some way to essentially prove themselves.
I personally try and do this as little as possible and I do it in a very specific way. What I aim to do is share my experiences and things that I’ve done, rather than talking about what I’ve “got” or “have”. I tend not to talk about my financial situation or my possessions because that’s not relevant for people.
It’s important, I think, to tell you what I’m doing and what I’m thinking about so that you can get my perspective and experience to help you with whatever you’re doing.
One thing that is starting to grind my gears a bit are the people online who preface everything with a call to action that says you should be more like them. Often times these people are genuinely messed up people who aside from some momentary success lead disastrous lives lurching from one mess to the next.
These folks fall into two distinct baskets.
One, the pure Hopium Dealers. These folks often don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of and they pretend they’re “crushing it”. They lead these fictitious lives and record the whole thing on their phone so that they can prey on the weakness of others. I think these Hopium Dealers are human excrement.
Simply put, they are modern day con men (or women) and charlatans.
The second groups are a little bit more complex. They operate on a cult of personality type basis. They try and build an audience who follows them, cheers them on and the audience revels in the shenanigans of their hero. These people are just living vicariously through this person.
For the most part, it’s harmless, until they start selling access and encouraging people to do what they do from a lifestyle and method of operation perspective.
First of all, that won’t work for most people. The overwhelming majority of us couldn’t pull that off.
And secondly, it focuses people on the wrong things. When someone tries to be more like me behaviourally, they aren’t actually focusing on building their own business. They end up measuring the wrong stuff and mimicking patterns that don’t matter. These people end up spending all their time on Facebook Live exuding confidence and swearing but actually achieving nothing.
The best piece of advice that I can give people is to be themselves – you be you! Stay in your own lane, run your own race. I talked about this a bit back in March in a post that you can read here.
There’s nobody in the world as good as you at just being you and vice versa. If you try and be me, you’re going to at best end up being the second best version of Sean.
And how does that help you? It doesn’t.
But here’s the secret – the reason why people who teach people to be more like them is because they know that the people following their imposters and clones will “graduate” up the food chain and eventually start following the “real deal”. They are creating little “mini-me” characters to go do lead gen for them.
So ignore that stuff. Look at what people do well tactically and strategically and try to reverse engineer it. Heck, even better, you can find someone like myself, read this blog and I’ll tell you what I’m doing and why.
Ultimately, you want to learn, not emulate. You want to be the best you that you can, not the second-best version of me. Take what you can from people, fit it to suit your situation and then make it your own.