Kill The Noise; Not Your Humility!
Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Many people believe that being humble is being weak. Anything but. At the same time, being falsely modest should also not be confused with humility. Something I often find with people who taste sudden success is what should have been a certain quiet confidence just becomes plain arrogance!
Life is a continuous journey; we have heard that. It is a continuous learning curve; we have heard that. The smartest, brightest, best people always acknowledge that they don’t know enough and need to constantly learn. The most successful people will always state the more I know; the less I know. And yet, the minute you hit any kind of success, a certain amount of arrogance starts building up.
The other bit of caution is really for the talented young entrepreneurs who have started off their new businesses. The humility comes from understanding what do I know, what do I not know and where do I take the help from. Does the following sound familiar?
“Why should I listen to them? Who are they? People who have never built a business as founders are going to tell me what to do?”
“I am the one who has started this business. I know everything, I am the tech or I am the scientist or I am the smart one. Who can know this better than me?”
“These marketing folks just dress it all up; it is fluff. The real hero is my product or my service”.
Some of the words that we use or some of the thoughts that we have are the very bane of our business existence. The fact that somehow you needed to justify aloud that you are smarter or better; should in itself say something to you.
If you are making a damn good product or providing a damn good service by your estimate; I am happy for you. But if your customer is not opening her purse & paying you for it; guess what, your product/service is not the hero and will never be unless someone pays fair value for it.
So what am I really saying here:
Just because you are a semi-expert in one area; do not assume you are an authority in everything else. I can build branding campaigns in my sleep or evaluate business ideas in record time but that doesn’t make me an expert in financial modelling!
You might have had the foresight & determination to start a business. But do not diss the experience that comes with scaling a business even if within a corporate environment. It isn’t an either/or situation.
If you are not putting the customer at the absolute centre of your business and if you are not personally involved in leading customer acquisition or don’t believe customer management is a critical function that you need to be personally mindful of then it is hugely concerning.
The reason I mention some of this is because ever so often in my conversation with peers, I hear stories about entrepreneurs or young professionals who have asked for help & advice and when given the same are very reluctant to act on it. The reason I also insist on a ‘guru dakshina’ or some monetary payment is because unless you have skin in the game, you don’t value it.
I am a big proponent of killing the noise but the real skill lies in deciphering what is noise including the one that originates from your ego and what is good solid advice. Humility is a big differentiator; and in this world, if you can keep your head when everyone else is losing it, you will go far!