At age 25, in 2002, I was the top salesperson in the country for Radio Disney. I was making great money. I was productive, successful and confident.

I was also cocky, arrogant, and disliked. I was downright unlikeable.

A year later, I appeared on national TV on the reality show Paradise Hotel, and promptly drank too much and totally humiliated myself in front of millions of people.

It took humiliation in order to teach me the virtue of humility. The thing is, no matter how smart, successful, good-looking or special you are, nobody likes a braggard. Nobody likes arrogance. Nobody likes cockiness.

It's really important to practice humility, to develop into a better leader and a better person. Humility and vulnerability make us more likeable. I have a long way to go still, but each day I remind myself just how small I am in the amazing, wondrous world around me, and that helps me to stay humble. Time with my kids, who don't care about my business success but just want to spend time with me- helps me to stay humble.

Inspirational quotes also help me a lot. Here are 15 of my favorite quotes that remind us of the importance of humility, in business and in life.

  1. Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. Jesse Jackson
  2. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. -C. S. Lewis
  3. Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. -Thomas Merton
  4. "Thank you" is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. -Alice Walker
  5. The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility. -Charles Caleb Colton
  6. The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it. -Mignon McLaughlin
  7. Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought. -Simone Weil
  8. Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new. -Steven Tyler
  9. Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot. -Thomas Moore
  10. Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else. Madeleine L'Engle
  11. Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you. Andrew Murray, Humility
  12. Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying. St. Vincent de Paul
  13. One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time. Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet
  14. Selflessness is humility. Humility and freedom go hand in hand. Only a humble person can be free. -Jeff Wilson
  15. Have more humility. Remember you don't know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life--and maybe even please a few strangers.--A.L. Kennedy

How do you stay humble? How do you remind yourself each day of your place in the world, while still pursuing excellence? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Published on: Oct 8, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.