Pharrell Williams on Humility

Pharrell Williams has been on the music scene for quite some time. He currently has the number one song with “Happy” and was named by Billboard magazine as one of the past decade’s top producers.

On the CBS’s Sunday Morning, Pharrell gave an important lesson on acknowledging the help he’s received on his path to success. In the interview, Pharrell spent considerable time recognizing the people who taught and inspired him to pursue music. He mentioned his first high school music teacher, his band teacher, two more music teachers, and the instructor who taught him drums, not to mention his grandmother.

When asked why he’s giving credit to everyone else, Pharrell said, “Well, what am I without them? Just try that for a second. Take all of my band teachers out of this. Where am I?”

When’s the last time you recognized the people who made you the leader you are – gave you the opportunities when no one else would, recognized your potential even before you did, taught you the lessons and values that you continue to practice today?

…those are the most tragic stories, the most gifted people who start to believe it’s really all them. It’s not all you. It can’t be all you. Just like you need air to fly a kite, it’s not the kite. It’s the air. — Pharrell

No leader does it by themself. It may be your drive that moves you forward, but there’s an army of people who support you along the way. If this sounds like fluff, consider the John Baldoni’s HBR piece where he discusses the power of humility in leadership. It authenticates our humanity and demonstrates our character.

Doesn’t that sound like someone you’d like to follow?