Do You Suffer From False Humility?

There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance.

But there is an even thinner line, between demonstrating your value and a lost opportunity.

To explain what I mean properly, let me share a definition of False Humility, through a recent meeting I had:

I met with a great colleague of mine for coffee a couple of weeks ago – I first started working with this person about 15 years ago on a project called First Class Youth Network with about 20 others, where we were mentoring young people from inner city communities.

This particular project connected over 1000 young people together from Birmingham, who had been virtually written off by society, yet had so much talent. As their slightly older peers from those communities, we decided to come together, give back and help them to realise their talent through entrepreneurship and employment opportunities with the professional services and third sectors.

Anyway, we were discussing our respective journeys since then, and deduced that a strong value that has helped us to succeed, is our humility.

Yet, we both realised that being humble has also resulted in lost opportunity to do more for others – we agreed that humility should not be lost, but at the same time, there is a balance between doing good and ensuring you are evolving and progressing because you are promoting the impacts you have made; the more successful you become, the MORE you can do for others!

My colleague mentioned having a similar discussion with another person, who coined the phrase ‘False Humility’ – the notion of under-playing your own value, in order to please others, regardless of whether they appreciate your value or not.

The real truth, is that you do not have to lose your humility, in order to be clear about what you are good at and the value you can provide for others – you simply need to be able to share WHY you are good at what you do, and WHY you wish to add value through what you do!

So, why is all this relevant to you?


  • When was the last time that you really analysed the IMPACT that you have created for your customers, and STILL felt inferior?
  • Do you ever feel like you are trying to please others, even when you KNOW they are not appreciating what you can do/offer/provide?
  • When was the last time that you created a story or narrative, that explained your WHY and the impact you have created for others, simply, clearly and in a way that cut through the traffic and social noise?
  • Are you quick to be self-deprecating, rather than stand behind your convictions?

In the words of Marianne Williamson and so eloquently shared by Nelson Mandela, I paraphrase:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Being humble is a value and trait you must NEVER lose, as it enables you to stay grounded and focused on providing measurable value for others.

But having false humility really helps no one, least of all your potential customers or you.

Till the next time,



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