Choosing Nobility | 4 Principles that Grow Humility

It’s the kind of movie that would show up on AMC these days, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves“. This retelling of the classic tale starring Kevin Costner as a dethroned English Lord without an English accent and Morgan Freeman as a runaway Saracen was a popular movie in the early 90’s. Movies like this are why people go to the theater. The bad guy is easy to hate. The good guy, even though he operates outside the law, is easy to love. Peasants are challenged to fight for freedom. Kings are admonished to lead through service. And self-sacrifice is celebrated as the means to vanquish the enemy, save the damsel in distress and ride off into happily-ever-after.

There’s a great scene where Robin is talking with Maid Marion. Marion asks, “How is it, that a once-arrogant young nobleman has found contentment living rough with the salt of the earth?” Robin Hood responds, “I’ve seen knights in armor panic at the first hint of battle. And I’ve seen the lowliest, unarmed squire pull a spear from his own body to defend a dying horse. Nobility is not a birthright. It’s defined by one’s actions.”

This is a beautiful idea. Nobility isn’t about our station, income, position or power. It’s about our choice to use the influence we have for the benefit of others.

Recently the Lead Change Group released a book called, “The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution…One Person at a Time.” Click the title to visit the download link at I had the privilege of being one of the 21 authors involved in this project. The heart of the book is this idea that leadership doesn’t come from where you are, but from who you are. Leadership isn’t about your position. It’s about your choices.

Humility is a quality common to character-based leaders. That’s the focus of my contribution to the book. Like Robin Hood, the character-based leader recognizes that leadership isn’t a birthright. It’s defined by one’s actions.

As you take a look at the book and consider what it means to be a character-based leader there are 4 principles that can help you grow in humility.

See the Need – I’m never more aware of how little I have than when I’m surrounded by multimillion dollar homes. I’m never more aware of how much I have than when I’m standing on a trash dump in Mexico watching teenagers build a 16×20 wooden shed someone will soon call their home. You can’t make the noble choice to be humble if you don’t see the need right in front of you.

Know Your Stuff – It’s not about the size of your bank account or level of education. You’ve got to know what you know, know what you have, and know how you can use it for the benefit of others.

Make the Time – I know you’re busy, but let’s be honest, busy people make the world go ’round. Busy people move things forward. When you need something done don’t waste your time expecting a lazy person to do it. Ask a busy person to get it done. Better, recognize that you are that busy person and serving someone else, helping bring their dreams to life is an investment of time worthy of your attention.

Ask the Question – In every situation, with every interaction, on every project, job, and in every relationship there’s one great question that can help cut through all the clutter. “How can I make this better?” As you walk through your office, how can you improver the spirit of those with whom you work? In your neighborhood association, how can you be a better neighbor? In your community of faith, what can you do to move that message forward? Spit and polish don’t make the car run, but they sure make it worth taking the picture and pinning up the poster. What spit and polish can you add into the lives of others? How can you make it better?

Humility isn’t thinking highly of yourself of lowly of yourself. True humility isn’t thinking of yourself at all. Make the noble choice – serve someone else.

Mark 10:45




The Character-Based Leader

Character-Based Leader

I’m honored to be one of the 21 authors included in this book (page 103!). It’s a great project written by some incredibly talented authors who are passionate about helping others discover, develop and deploy the amazing leadership potential in people everywhere. Below is a brief description. To purchase the print or kindle versions of the book from – VISIT HERE!

The Character-Based Leader is a must-read for anyone who realizes that leading from who you are (rather than your position) is the key to longevity and satisfaction in any leadership role. Written by 21 volunteer members of the Lead Change Group, this book will challenge and inspire you to take ACTION and Lead Change!


The Character-Based Leader is a must-read for anyone who realizes that leading from who you are (rather than your title) is the key to longevity and satisfaction in any leadership role. This well-written, easy read will leave you feeling inspired and ready to take ACTION!

~ Marshall Goldsmith, recognized as the Thinkers 50 most-influential leadership thinker in the world, and author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

A rich and comprehensive collection of compelling perspectives on the importance of character in the leadership equation. A very worthy read.

~ Douglas R. Conant, Retired President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company, and author of the NY Times Bestseller TouchPoints

What do you get when 21 deep-thinking leaders share their thoughts on Character-Based Leadership with the world? You get a book filled with actionable advice that can change the world one person at a time. Buy it. Read it. It will change how you see your leadership. It will change how you live your life.

~ Liz Strauss, International Business Strategist, Author of Successful-Blog

The Lead Change Group has hit it out of the park! The Character-Based Leader distills timeless lessons of virtuous, effective living—and applies them seamlessly to the daily demands and spectacular opportunities of the 21st century. Put this wonderful book to use today, transforming your life and work into a masterpiece of service.

~ James Strock, author of Serve to Lead