Early on in my career as a guest speaker, an audience member suggested that to be a great, it takes both audacity and humility.
Over the years I keep rediscovering how true these words are.
As a guest speaker, It takes audacity to believe that what you are saying and doing is important, impactful and meaningful.
It takes equal amounts of humility to know that what you are creating is bigger then you. Humility reminds you that it is the community and the people that will be inspired by you and your ideas and give them bigger meaning. When you take yourself and your ego out of the equation, real value can be added because your focus isn't on you but on others.
The trouble is, sometimes the virtues of audacity and humility are at war and cancel each other out.
I love this word. It seems to mean making a difference and having a true belief in yourself. If you do not believe that what you are doing is actually making a difference, then you may as well not do it. Even simple, routine jobs make a difference. It takes audacity to believe that you can tangibly make a difference to others through the way you do your job.
I have met a school janitor who had the audacity to believe that he is creating a safe, clean and healthy environment for students to learn and grow. He is single- handedly impacting the lives of hundreds of students every day.
Sometimes believing you are doing great things can feed your ego. You start to feel like you are bigger than yourself and demand or deserve recognition for the exceptional impact you make. This usually translates into a feeling of entitlement. Otherwise well meaning people may start to demand compensation or recognition for their efforts.
When humility wanes and ego gets in the way and wins the war, audacity will eventually fade into the background. In it's place falls a steady preoccupation not with making a difference but with making a living. Focus on the greater good gives way to focus on being called great or being properly compensated for your efforts. Keeping score is never for the greater good.
Humility will win when we have the audacity to know we are making an impact and the humility to let that impact be consumed by others without retribution.
The giving is satisfaction enough.