Setting Your Humilimeter
In listening to a friend of mine recently as he recounted a particularly difficult challenge in his business career, he made the comment that the experience he was referencing caused him to reset his “humilimeter”. In other words, the experience “humbled” him.
I’ve always admired the quality of humility in others and like to think that I’ve done my best to exhibit it in my own life. That being the case, I was pleasantly overwhelmed recently by an encounter with an individual who demonstrated humility in spades.
Since the founding of our nation in 1776 the U.S. population has grown by a factor of 130 from 2.5 million to over 330 million people. During the 244 years of our nation’s history, 45 individuals have served as President of the United States.
Recently while attending a Convoy of Hope event in southern California, my wife and I had the honor of meeting one of those individuals, President George W. Bush.
After clearing security and waiting in line for our individual photo opportunity with the President, those of us who had met Mr. Bush began comparing our conversations with him as we had our pictures taken together.
One friend related that as he approached the former president he said to his wife, “Dear, I’d like you to meet one of our countries greatest, living former presidents.” To which Mr. Bush replied, “Thanks but there’s really not much competition!”
In my case, standing next to the President in front of the camera I told him how much I enjoyed the book he wrote about his father entitled “41”. To which his response was, “Thank you, he was a great man.” To which I replied, “And so are you sir.” To which his simple reply was “Thank you.”
Following the photo op, Convoy’s 200 assembled guests had the opportunity to listen to the President be interviewed by author, speaker and storyteller Dick Foth.
Foth in his own right is a gifted communicator whose totally relaxed style quickly put the President at ease resulting in those of us in attendance having the opportunity experience Mr. Bush just being himself.
Over the next hour, the President recounted his life growing up, the influence his parents had on him, and his approach to leading our country following the events of September 11th. Additionally, he shared his current passions: his family; supporting disabled veterans; his latest hobby of portrait painting which he took up after leaving the presidency; and his faith journey.
As the interview concluded, the most revealing comment President Bush made was in response to the simple question posed by Foth when he asked him, “How he would like to be remembered?” Without a bit of hesitation, his response was simply, “As a great husband and father.”
As the applause from the assembled guests began to diminish and President Bush exited the stage, I was struck by having been in the presence of a great man whose “humilimeter” was set at just the right level.