I call each day another opportunity to demonstrate
humility—an overwhelmingly neglected leadership
trait. Notably, humility is neither a reflection of weakness or insecurity. Instead, humility is an appreciation
of the strengths of others and an eagerness to help
them. You can be both humble and fearless. I ask you to
consider the following:
Be grateful. All of us were blessed to be in the right
place at the right time with the right people who had
the right heart to nurture, encourage and teach us. If
you know this, it is a disservice to ignore your obligation to help others.
Choose to be humble. It is hard to be humble, especially in this competitive legal world that we live in. It
requires a mindset to serve others first and to give more
than to receive.
Practice at least one humble act each day. Take
every opportunity to recognize and thank others for
who they are, what they do and how they have added
value to your life.
Recognize it is not all about you. Stop being so full
of me, myself and I.
Admit when you are wrong. Everyone else already
knows that you are imperfect, so it is truly heartwarming when they know you know it too.
Know you do not know everything. You are never
right all of the time. So, remain teachable.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. You cannot be
receptive to ideas or appreciative of others if you are always questioning their intentions and/or judging them.
Forgive those who wrong you. After 27 years of
imprisonment simply for opposing apartheid, Nelson
Mandela said, “I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness
and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Listen more than you talk. What a powerful
experience. Try it and notice how your efforts are
Now, I am far from being an expert on humility. I am
a work in progress. I hold fast to that familiar prayer:
“Dear Lord, So far today, I have remained in a posi-
tion of humility. I am truly grateful for my life. I haven’t
complained. I have not thought highly of myself. I
listen more than I talk. I seek first to understand and
serve. I admit when I am wrong. I have given everyone
the benefit of the doubt and have forgiven those who
wrong me. But in a few minutes, Lord, I’m going to get
out of bed and get dressed for work … and from then
on, I’m going to need a lot of help.” ■
RUTHIE WHITE (ruthie.white@jacksonlewis.
com) is managing principal at Jackson Lewis PC,
exclusively representing management in labor
and employment matters.
Why Humility Is a Neglected
DIVERSE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BY RUTHIE WHITE
I GREATLY APPRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNI T Y to share my thoughts on professional development. But first, a
few words about me: My best friend calls me “wife.” My greatest blessings call me “mom.” In this legal world, I am
“Ruthie White,” managing principal of the Houston office of Jackson Lewis PC.
Notably, humility is neither a reflection of
weakness or insecurity. Instead, humility is an
appreciation of the strengths of others and an
eagerness to help them.