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I like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve made plenty of them. Recently, I reflected on what’s worked and what hasn’t. Here are two rules that have endured.

Rule no. 1

As advisors, you’re often the center of attention. Perhaps you have written a book or sponsored events. You’re accustomed to speaking authoritatively to small and large groups of people. You’re respected – and rightfully so – for your expertise and integrity. It’s easy to believe you are “special” and at the center of everyone’s thoughts, which brings me to my first rule: It’s not about me.

In his blog post, The Paradoxical Power of Humility, Dr. Karl Albrecht set forth some important observations about humility. In his view, humility is a state of mind where we all are, “just as valuable as every other human being on the planet, no more and no less.”

Achieving this state of mind requires us to disconnect our “competitive reflex,” which is challenging. When you have achieved a certain status in life, it is tempting to believe you “know the way.” This attitude manifests itself by giving unsolicited advice and habitually redirecting the conversation back to yourself.

Albrecht asks these questions: If someone tells a joke, do you feel compelled to top it with a better one? Or, do you hold back on laughing, so the joke falls flat? Do you always have a better story, a better example, a better suggestion, or a better solution? Do you feel compelled to demonstrate how smart you are, or how much you know?