The Secret Ingredient to Success

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So what’ s that secret ingredient that makes that steak go from good to great? What’s that extra something that makes that chocolate cake taste extraordinary? There’s just something about that taste….

And so it is with our lives. There’s a secret ingredient that perhaps we have never thought much about but when it’s there, people notice it. It tends to be different and make a difference all at the same time. It’s the “ingredient” we see in Jesus — a quality which we can learn from Him and grow in. It’s the character quality found in Paul’s words, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” The secret ingredient of a successful life is humility.

Humility means “to put under or place beneath.” When a leader willingly places herself/himself beneath another so somebody else can be lifted up and helped, that’s reward in and of itself. But just like in exercise, the more consistently we lift, the stronger we grow. The key to inner strength is humility. We never notice the chair legs underneath the chair when we sit on it, but we sure would notice if they were missing and we found ourselves sitting on the floor. Those legs offer needed support. As leaders at home, in the community or the workplace, we may not always be noticed or get the credit but it is our call to make sure others we come in contact with have the support they need.

So what are just a few action steps we can take to grow in humility?

  1. Lay down our agenda for the agenda of others. Consider others and their ideas, as they might be even better than ours.
  2. Ask questions instead of making statements. “How can I help you succeed?” When we can ask five questions before making one statement, they see we care and we will have the credibility to speak into their lives when needed.
  3. Get to know people and get them what they need. We are either anchors that hold people back or sails that propel them forward.
  4. Understand that as our personal responsibilities increase, our personal rights decrease.
  5. Celebrate with people rather than compete with them, and life will begin to make sense.
  6. Choose security over insecurity. When we know who we are, what we are about and where we are headed, security is there.  Secure people/leaders will gladly serve others because they know they have nothing to prove. Insecure people/leaders will demand that others serve them.
  7. Choose contentment over comparisons. Contentment happens when we want what we already have and pursue those things, invest in those things. Comparisons happen when we pursue what others already have.

When we stop and realize that we weren’t even our own idea but God’s, we can be hit with some perspective. So instead of shouting at someone from the table top, trying to prove we were right or it was our idea, let’s simply climb down and realize that we’re here for something far bigger than ourselves. I guarantee you that “ingredient” in our hearts and lives will taste amazingly different to those around us.