Humility

In the past two days, I’ve encountered two acts of humility. By humility, I mean people doing things that might ordinarily be considered “beneath” them, noticing acts that someone might not consider worth noticing, and putting one’s ego aside to focus on more important things.

Yesterday, I had a meeting that had required eight months of work. I’ve lost sleep over it, worried myself sick, paced around in circles fretting that I couldn’t do it, and considered (only half-jokingly) whether I should throw in the towel.

What I’m trying to say is that it was a rather important meeting. πŸ˜‰

In those eight months, I have:

  • published five books/novellas and contracted two more plus two short stories for anthologies
  • changed professional mentors
  • worked full-time
  • launched this entire “professional writer” enterprise
  • seen Kat and Natalie transform from people in my head…into the anchors of (so far) a three-book series

What I’m trying to say is that I have been rather busy. πŸ˜‰

So, when the busy Ana went to her busy meeting, she went early to take care of the necessary details. My presentation, my necessary techy details.

Instead, I walked into the room to find someone setting up a webcam, electronics, and internet connections.

I was so surprised that I stopped in my tracks and asked whether he perhaps might be setting up in the wrong room. (Thinking inside of my head, “Sheesh! Just what I need, someone in my space and making me late!”)

His response?

“Are you the person [doing what I was doing]? [The head person in charge of my work] asked me to set things up. I’ll stay close by until we make sure everything is fine.”

He then stayed with me, patiently, as he connected everything and helped me test the equipment. When (for convenience, let’s call him my supervisor, S) S entered later, I thanked him for making the arrangements. It was not his job. I had planned on having to do everything myself. S not only made the arrangements, but he allotted the budget to have the tech support for the entire meeting. Did we ever need it! When the connection went down, the tech guy did his best to fix things. Luckily, my planning paid off and we used my equipment. Tech guy still stayed until the end of the meeting, just to make sure things were fine.

When I thanked S, his response made me pause. He brushed it aside.

“Of course. I didn’t want you to have to think about anything except your work.”

Now, of course it’s always in a superior’s best interest for subordinates to perform well–but it is absolutely not the case that superiors always recognize this and act on it.

I knocked everyone’s socks off yesterday, including my own. But what stands out most in my mind is the supervisor who took time out of his stressful, overworked, busy schedule to use his professional clout. To ensure that I had the best conditions possible to perform well.

I’ve worked for other people who act as if anything is beneath them unless it directly contributes to their fame and glory. It seems to be a fairly common attitude in the corporate and professional world. I’ve also seen people who are apparently unable to have any conversation that doesn’t direct back to them or their work (in the author world, this means their books).

There’s a reason that I like “Simple Gifts” so much.

For a lovely interpretation of the song by Yo-Yo Ma and Allison Krauss, set to a photo slideshow, go here.

‘Tis, indeed, a gift to learn how to be simple and free. Humility brings many rewards.

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28 thoughts on “Humility

  1. Roz says:

    Hey Ana, gee, reading this made be tired LoL. You have been so busy and accomplished so much over those eight months.

    It really heart warming to witness such acts of humility isn’t it? How wonderful of him to arrange this for you. I’m so glad to hear it went well and that you knocked everyone’s socks off. Go you!

    Hugs,
    Roz

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’m tired, too! πŸ™‚ But you have been busy yourself, miss mischievous! It’s always such a cheery even when I see a new comment from you. Thank you for all of your support and welcome. πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. Mona Lisa says:

    Ana, such simple gifts are the best. To be seen by someone or that someone thinks of one, feels incredible. It makes os humane that we also want to be those who care about someone.
    I usually talk about water rings …

    I’m happy for you that you’ve got to experience it. Again.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hello and welcome, Mona Lisa! I love how your avatar shows you “moaning”. πŸ˜€ And yes, it does make us feel incredible. Valued and powerful and so many other things!

      Hey, water rings have their place. There are works of art dedicated to water rings. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. joeyred51 says:

    Wow. It is rare to find people who will do these things for other people.

    My role model is a man who was a very famous corporate executive who was kind and considerate.

    We need more people like them in this world.

    Hug,
    joey

    Like

  4. Casey McKay says:

    I love that you stopped in your tracks at someone else setting up in your room. I would have been freaking out! It’s awesome that you have a supervisor that would take the time to give you some help, it’s so easy to just slip into self preservation mode and forget about other people, thanks for the post- I think I’ll go out of my way to do something nice today!
    Also glad your meeting went well!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hello and welcome, Casey! Another new-to-me blogger I will have to check out! I was so sleep-deprived and trying to stay calm that I didn’t freak out, but it did make me pause. I think that self-preservation (and promoting ME ME ME all the time) is the “norm” in many if not most circles, and finding someone who doesn’t work that way is a breath of fresh air.

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  5. Minelle says:

    It is a lesson to us that every person matters, and that living with integrity is a great reward.
    After all your work it is a blessing to have people looking out for you!
    Doing the right thing!

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Absolutely. What I particularly dislike is when established people try to “get” new people in the hopes of recruiting followers, etc. It’s lovely when people help out new people simply for the sake of helping the way they were helped when they were new.

      Absolutely a blessing.

      Like

  6. newlifeindd says:

    Those were the days that, after blowing away those socks (knew you’d do that), your only remaining problem was to decide which one of the two you were going to marry.
    Must be a nice short story in this!
    Ah, damn, wrong genre!

    Like

  7. pamelavmason says:

    Wow… that was a powerful message your S sent you through his act of kindness. He obviously values you and your employ – something everybody is looking for now. That’s terrific! And it’s great the way you’ve turned around and shared it with others here.
    Karma is powerful stuff.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Thank you so much for your comments, Pamela. πŸ™‚ And absolutely…aren’t we all lucky if we can find someone who values our work? Much rarer than it should be. I hope that sharing this story inspires others to notice people who work for them.

      Like

  8. Joseph McNamara says:

    Such a touching story of your extraordinary day yesterday Ana. You know for me, personally it was the examples in life and the all important upbringing that really set the tone for me in education, business and my own personal life’s relationships. I always, always refer to my employees as those that work “with me” and not for me. I believe this encourages team work and also recognizes the fact that without them, I would not be… and interestingly enough, I don’t feel for me it is humility, but comfort in my being…

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      It was extraordinary! It’s true that for some people it’s a way of life, and it’s also true that we would be much better off if more people approached it that way.

      Comfort in your being…what a lovely way to put it. Well said.

      Like

  9. Sunny Girl says:

    I always referred to it as “grace” but call it what you will it’s lovely to experience and practice.

    Like Joseph, I’ve always worked with colleagues and made sure to always know and do whatever was required of them – someone a long time ago told me there is no I in team and it struck a chord.

    Like

  10. Celeste Jones says:

    Lovely post, my dear. Of course you knocked their socks (and slippers) off.

    If more people (especially those in authority) realized the impact these simple things have on others, they’d always act that way. Making your “underlings” believe you are confident in them, rather than waiting to pounce on every mistake, helps people to be their best, most creative, most productive selves.

    A good reminder.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      My slippers are firmly clutched in my hand where no one can take them away!!

      I think that we need to remember that we are the ones in power, at least to someone else. No matter how poor or young or how low in the social status ladder I am, there is always someone below me who can be uplifted or beaten down by my actions.

      And sometimes it’s the smallest acts of selflessness that affect people the most.

      Like

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