Staying Humble

Originally Written on LinkedIn Here

With all the exciting things that have been going on in the world- politically, socially, and economically- it is humbling to be living in a time with so much whimsy and wonder. To keep you reading, this piece isn’t about politics (yay!) but it’s about one key element: staying humble in a time where we might be experiencing success in life. So since it’s been a roller coaster of a few weeks, I thought it would be a good idea to talk this idea of Staying Humble.

If you don’t know me, I’m a Millennial. I’m a Downtown-loving, Starbucks-drinking, iPhone attached Millennial. Like my fellow 80’s and 90’s babies, my desire is to be successful and leave my mark on this world. These last few months, I have started to find my calling in the world with my wonderful company SAP and even started to discover a ton about myself during the process.

Humility is a tricky thing when you're finding your way in life, and it can lead to comfort and complacency.

Great Things Never Came from Comfort Zones

The first lesson in Staying Humble: Shut Up and Learn.

The art of being humble breaks down simply being the master or being the student. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility.

Simply put, you will learn more, enhance relationships, and others will be more willing to lend a helping hand if you know how to play both roles. Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

The real focus here is on staying humble, so when you get a chance to attend an event like SAPPHIRE, everyone feels elated and like they’re on top of the world. The true power of that feeling comes when we realize what we learned and how we can apply it to our current lives. I played a great student over the last few weeks — always ask questions and when someone tells you “No,” to ask a different question and seek the path to “Yes.” It puts life into perspective, when you read about someone like Paul English, the co-founder of Kayak, who, to stay in touch with being in a service industry,is now an Uber Driver with a 4.97 star rating.

“I wanted to know what it felt like to get rated.” — Paul English

Rule 2: Know its OK to demonstrate Humble Confidence

In the last two weeks I found myself playing student on a daily basis during SAP’s largest event of the year — SAPPHIRE NOW. It was my first ever time attending, and it did not disappoint. I was lucky enough to go with an amazing team of social influencers and future and current mentors (Calling you out Daniel Newman, Brian Fanzo, Christin Kardos, and Ursula Ringham) who I have worked with since starting with SAP. It was also a great opportunity to reconnect with some colleagues who I usually work with over email and phone calls.

(Also — I highly recommend heading over to my colleague Mary Colpos take on her first SAPPHIRE here)

Rule 3: (And the key to it all) Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

I love to hear feedback. Comment below, and let me know what you thought. If you have advice on Staying Humble, add it below, let’s keep the conversation going!

Feel free to join me on Twitter @ryantsonnenberg, or send me an email at I’d love to hear from you!