There have been several memorable “thank you” speeches from athletes, actors, and other award-winners. Adrien Brody’s smooch with Halle Berry after winning the Oscar for “Best Actor”; Roberto Beningni’s chair-leaping; Michael Sam’s speech that brought many to tears, and Nelson Mandela’s powerful oration after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. There is one common thread in all these speeches: A sense of heartfelt gratitude to the people who helped these winners accomplish amazing things.
In fact, research we conducted at Queendom indicates that those who achieve great things are not alone in their road to success. It is their humbleness and willingness to accept advice, guidance, and even criticism from others that has made them a success. So if you’re willing to eat a great big piece of humble pie, it may just lead you to a buffet of greatness later.
After collecting data from people who took our Coachability Test, we focused our attention on two groups: Goal-achievers (those who have achieved most of the goals they have set for themselves) and Non goal-achievers (those who have not set or achieved many goals). Here’s what our statistics revealed:
- Goal-achievers are more open to coaching (score of 78 vs. 64 for Non goal-achievers, on a scale from 0 to 100).
- Goal-achievers are more willing to accept criticism (score of 76 vs. 63 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more open to learning (score of 88 vs. 71 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more willing to ask others for help (score of 73 vs. 61 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more comfortable admitting to their mistakes, failures, or weaknesses (score of 73 vs. 58 for Non goal-achievers).
- Goal-achievers are more driven and perseverant (score of 91 vs. 57 for Non goal-achievers).
Our research also indicates that among the goal-achievers:
- 89% actively seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills (compared to 31% of non goal-achievers).
- 73% willingly seek out guidance when they need it (compared to 37% of non goal-achievers).
- 96% continuously look for ways to become a better person (compared to 50% of non goal-achievers).
- When they fail, 90% of goal-achievers will simply keep trying until they do succeed (compared to 25% of non goal-achievers).
- 28% find it hard to admit to others when they can’t do something on their own (compared to 50% of non goal-achievers).
- When given advice by teachers, coaches, or managers, 82% will put the guidance they receive to good use. Only 44% of non goal-achievers will listen to the advice.
Non goal-achievers generally run into two issues: They either don’t believe they have what it takes to achieve the goals they aspire to, or they want to be able to do everything on their own – as though asking others for help will diminish the value of their success. So they create more struggle and obstacles for themselves than is necessary.
I myself am stubborn to a fault. I don’t like asking for help, partly because I feel like I’m inconveniencing someone when I do, and partly because I feel that I should be able to do something on my own. I only ask for help when I’m really, really desperate. So where has that left me? Surprisingly, despite my hard-headed tendency to tackle life’s problems on my own, I am NOT good under stress; I’m like the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz, melting, melting, meeelttting under the pressure. I’m also not as assertive as I should be, and often get pushed around by people with strong personalities. I also feel like I’m constantly carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
You need to be willing to put your ego aside and accept guidance and criticism – there is no way around it. And if you want to achieve your goals, you need to be able to admit when you can’t do something on your own and need help.
That’s what humility is: having the strength and courage to admit to your faults and shortcomings.