Sherita Harkness is simply a force of nature. Five years ago, Sherita was living in Dubai in the UAE teaching Emirati girls ESL. She was pulled out six months in by the Sheik (the president of the UAE) and the Ministry of Education to create and design a Creative Media Production Diploma and Education for girls.

During her last two years in Dubai, Sherita was hired by a church to help build up their production, communications and marketing teams. That experience — along with her unmistakable leadership capacity and experience at such a young age — prompted her to create Trading Fourz. Trading Fourz produces digital and live experiential events and environments tailored to help brands and companies capitalize on customer experience. Trading Fourz trade-off between strategy, experience design, event production, and content creation to seamlessly bring a brand story and culture to life. 

Sherita and Stuart have a fascinating conversation regarding leadership, influence, grit, and humility. Make sure to listen!

Growing up in California, future NFL first-round draft pick Najee Harris spent several years with his parents and four siblings in a Bay Area homeless shelter. Harris returned to the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program on Thursday as one of its greatest success stories, coming home to a draft party held in his honor.  “There was a time I needed a helping hand. They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet,” Harris told reporters. “So it is my job to give back.” The former Alabama running back did just that, bringing with him a donation of food for the shelter’s residents, just hours before he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

No one can proclaim themselves humble. We would laugh at the person who won a humility contest and bragged of their victory. Humility is a misunderstood mystery to most, yet God considers it a trait to be desired and longed for. 

Jesus became completely human inside and out. Paul states in Philippians that Jesus was “like” a human and says He took on the actual outward characteristics of a man — all part of the process of Jesus becoming nothing. He took the form He needed to take so that He could help the people He considered of utmost worth.

Humility is a misunderstood word by most of us. It is a trait that we can’t declare we have. No one can say, “I am humble.” You can’t really ask others if they think you are humble. Webster defines humility as “not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission.” The Bible dictionary says that humility is a “personal quality in which an individual shows dependence on God and respect for other persons.”

The question is how one comes to rest in a state of humility. I think we humble ourselves more than we realize. Every time you do something unwise to gain acceptance, you are humbling yourself. Every time you get on the floor to play with a child, you are humbling yourself. Every time you go to work, you are humbling yourself.  

Humility is a process of determining what is of worth and making yourself nothing to gain what is of worth.

Jesus is our example as it relates to putting others first. He considered humanity— you and me — of the utmost worth. He began the process of making Himself nothing to gain what was of worth. He considered equality with God something He could live without. He took the very nature of a servant. He was made in human likeness, both inside and out. He became obedient to death. That was Christ’s process to humility.

By choosing us as ultimate worth, Jesus humbled Himself. By you choosing others as ultimate worth, you will have no choice but to be humbled. That is God’s heart for you.

Position can never be our goal for serving others — it’s not worth it. Power can never be our goal for serving others — it’s not worth it. Prestige can never be our goal for serving others — it’s not worth it.

People have to be our goal. It’s the distinction of “You are worth it to me.”

Is someone else worth it to you?

Let’s discuss this in the Circle…

In this Episode’s Version, INFLUNSR. asked you to read the inspiring story of Billy Mills. At the 1964 Olympics, Mills shocked the world and came from behind to win the gold medal in the 10,000 meters race. At the time, he set a world record of 28 minutes, 24.4 seconds and is still the only American to ever win a gold medal in the 10K event. His win was an upset that has been called the second greatest moment in Olympic history.

In interviews, Billy Mills was always known for acknowledging how fast his competition was. Reporters were quick to say, “Yes, but you’re faster.” Mills would fire back, “Yeah, but we’re not talking about me.” When he retired from competition, he began a successful career as a motivational speaker. A constant theme in his seminars that we should all learn from is to never let competition turn you into somebody you’re not.

Mills preaches, “As athletes and humans, yes, we are all competitive… on the track and in life. But competition can turn good people into villains. I was always trying to better my time from the previous race. If I ended up winning, that’s great… but if you’re in it just for the joy of beating people, then I don’t want to know you.”

In the Jewish faith tradition, hillul hashem, “profaning the name,” is an extremely dangerous sin. The rabbis found this in the way they interpreted the third commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 NASB). Christians have traditionally interpreted this commandment has a prohibition against swearing, cursing. But of all ten commandments, this is the only commandment that God promises to punish. Why so serious?

In Jewish thought, this commandment is understood to have much greater meaning. The text literally says, “You shall not lift the name (reputation) of the Lord for an empty thing.” One of the ways that the rabbis interpreted this was as doing something evil publicly and then associating God with it. It is a sin against God himself, who suffers from having his reputation defamed (see “competition can turn good people into villains). 

Consider the actions of the American pastor who burned the Qur’an on September 11, 2010. He intended to denounce Islam as falsehood, but instead it caused the Islamic community to see Christians as godless blasphemers who didn’t believe what Jesus taught about loving your enemies.  

Outside of the public eye, in the lives of average people, you and I can be guilty of hillul hashem. Each of us is capable of defaming the name and reputation of God. And it usually starts with choosing to put ourselves first.  

Think very seriously about this: In what way(s) do see Jesus followers committing hillul hashem? In what ways do you take God’s name in vain?

Let’s dive into this in the Circle…

We asked you ask for your parents or guardian’s permission and watch the Oscar nominated film Minari. Yearning to own a small patch of land and be more than a chicken sexer, the ambitious paterfamilias, Jacob Yi, relocates his Korean-American family: sceptical wife, Monica, and their children, David and Anne, from California to 1980s rural Arkansas, to start afresh and capture the elusive American Dream. However, new beginnings are always challenging, and to find out what is best for the family, let alone start a 50-acre farm to grow and sell Korean fruits and vegetables, is easier said than done. But, amid sincere promises, cultural unease, fleeting hopes, and the ever-present threat of financial disaster, Jacob is convinced that he has found their own slice of Eden in the rich, dark soil of Arkansas. Can grandma Soon-ja’s humble but resilient minari help the Yi family figure out their place in the world?

Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung said about writing the screenplay for Minari “Life began for me, when I ceased to admire and began to remember.” We all tend to stop remembering who we’ve been, what we’ve come from and live admiring what we’ve become and accomplished. It’s interesting; Paul implored the Ephesian church “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” 

Let’s discuss this in the Circle…

We asked you to read The Power of Humility post by Luminița D. Saviuc. 

Humility is not a sign of weakness. Humility is a sign of strength reserved only for those who are brave enough to surrender their ego into the hands of the God within so that the Spirit can reclaim its role as a Master and the ego to go back to being the servant of the Divine.

C.S. Lewis once said “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” Why do you think pride and knowing God are incompatible? And how does this filter into becoming someone who has influence… or doesn’t?

Let’s discuss this in the Circle…

We asked you to watch the Ted Talk by Adam Grant titled What Frogs in Hot Water Can Teach Us About Thinking Again.

Why are humans so slow to react to looming crises, like a forewarned pandemic or a warming planet? It’s because we’re reluctant to rethink, say organizational psychologist Adam Grant. From a near-disastrous hike on Panama’s highest mountain to courageously joining his high school’s diving team, Grant borrows examples from his own life to illustrate how tunnel vision around our goals, habits and identities can find us stuck on a narrow path. Drawing on his research, he shares counterintuitive insights on how to broaden your focus and remain open to opportunities for rethinking.

INFLUNSR. defines humility as choosing first to go last. Adam Grant says that “Confident humility is being secure enough in your strengths to acknowledge your weaknesses. Believing that the best way to prove yourself is to improve yourself, knowing that weak leaders silence their critics and make themselves weaker, while strong leaders engage their critics and make themselves stronger. Confident humility gives you the courage to say “I don’t know,” instead of pretending to have all the answers. To say “I was wrong,” instead of insisting you were right. It encourages you to listen to ideas that make you think hard, not just the ones that make you feel good, and to surround yourself with people who challenge your thought process, not just the ones who agree with your conclusions. And sometimes, it even leads you to challenge your own conclusions, like with the story about the frog that can’t survive the slow-boiling pot.” Here is a big question: in what three areas of your life do you maybe need to challenge your own conclusion? Why?

Time to dive into this in the Circle…

We asked you to read the article The Humility-Confidence SeeSaw: The Untold Secret of Great Leaders by Courtney Seiter.

Both confidence and humility have giant roles in making you a respected person—and an effective leader.

The balance between the two can be incredibly delicate and nuanced, which is why I was delighted to find this sketch that perfectly illustrates the relationship:

Which are you more focused on working on: confidence or humility? How have the two worked together in your life? Have you encountered humble confidence in others, and how did it feel to you?

Let’s discuss this in the Circle…

We asked you to watch the compilation of Oprah Show clips featuring Nelson Mandela.

In this compilation of ‘Oprah Show’ clips, we reflect on Nelson Mandela’s powerful presence and timeless words of wisdom explaining the importance of humility.

Nelson Mandela said that “The first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. And one of the most important weapons in changing yourself is to recognize that peace — and people everywhere in the world want peace — but humility is one of the most important qualities, which you must have. Because if you are humble, if you make people realize that you are no threat to them, then people will embrace you.” Simple question: how honest are you with yourself about yourself?

Let’s dive into this in the Circle… 


INFLUNSR’s mission is to fuel the next generation of leaders worth following and to help students learn how to think, not what to think. Any articles posted and questions asked are intended for that sole purpose.

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