The Dumbest Guys in the Room – How Humility Has Helped Shape Our Business

I’m always asked, ‘What’s the secret to success?’ But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room. Dwayne Johnson

My partners and I often joke that we are the smartest people in a room that’s empty. As that room fills up, we methodically and inevitably move down the ranking with each subsequent person.

There is definitely some level of truth that goes into that joke, but also a level of humility—we feel that this humble approach to business and learning has served us well in starting, growing and hopefully achieving some level of success.

This humility-based approach gives us a couple of key assets. First, because we aren’t too prideful to be simple, it breaks down problems to where simple people (read: us) can makes sense of them, which then allows us to look for pragmatic, sensible solutions (something we are good at).  Secondly, it gives us a heightened sense of self-awareness, which allows us to continually work on the things we are great at, and also those things we aren’t yet proficient at.

The reason humility allows us to make complex problems simple is because we allow ourselves the freedom to ask tons of questions to get at the true need without the fear of asking a “stupid” question.  Our business operates in a world of highly intelligent people, many who are unequivocally and irrefutably more intelligent than my partners and I (albeit not that hard), yet when we use our humble approach to ask simple yet relevant questions, we find ways to express successful solutions and find wins for all sides.

On the second point of self-awareness, I can’t underestimate the importance humility plays in developing this skill, but also how self-awareness fuels your humility at the same time. It’s sort of a circular or 360-esque relationship (pun intended). We believe that if you remove any sense of ego and open yourself to all things, you can achieve an accelerated ability to improve, which we strive for.

Now before you hit the Google machine and get all literal on me about the definition of humility, please understand that the word is, in my opinion, only what you make of it. My thought is that you can have some sense of humility, or lowliness, and still be extremely confident, inquisitive, knowledgeable, bright, and humorous. It’s not a yes or no equation, but rather a small piece of the complex puzzle that is building successful people and a successful business.

 

Ryan
CEO, 360 Energy Liability Management
rsmith@360elm.com

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