How Modesty Can Be a Plus in Your Business


“Are you awake?” I heard my husband say quietly. It was 4am.

“Yes,” I replied. “Are you worrying?”


“Let’s throw the I Ching then,” I said.  This is the ancient and highly respected Chinese method of divination, one of my middle of the night survival tools, which never fails to calm me down if I am worrying, no matter what about.  This time, the hexagram received was number 15, Modesty, and although I hadn’t consulted it with business in mind, later that day I began to reflect on the presence (or not) of modesty in business.

What is modesty, and can there be a place for it at all in business? defines it as “having or showing a moderate estimation of one’s own talents, abilities, and value.”  This might appear to go in the opposite direction to what I often say to clients, which is to value your worth, be unafraid of blowing your own trumpet, and be willing to stand out from the crowd.  All of which takes considerable courage sometimes.

However, if you consider that there may be two elements to who is involved in running your business – your personality and your inner wisdom – then this statement takes on a different meaning.

Your personality, or ego, is undoubtedly the one who likes to run your business, and for the most part, that is exactly who has been running businesses for many years.  The ego likes to be in charge, to do what it thinks is best, and to operate as if no-one else existed.  That’s because its primary purpose is survivalits own survival.  Hence you find people ignoring their own conscience, lying by omission, or taking advantage of situations or other people in order to further their own causes.  There’s not much that is modest about this, and it’s humbling admitting that it happens, but all humans do it (including me and you), as it is simply part of the human condition.  We have seen it operating in spades in recent years with examples of corruption in large companies, where many individual people all behaved in their own self-interest without regard for others.

However , if you are willing to include your own inner wisdom in your business decisions, and to act on that (as opposed to your ego’s advice), the result can sometimes be completely different. This often occurs when decisions are made to do exactly the opposite of what would appear to be the ‘right’ thing to do. Often, a heart-based decision looks, on paper, to be completely mad, only showing itself to be ‘sane’ at some point in the future, when you look back and say ‘Now I understand why I was doing that!’


For example, 15 months ago, I was facing probable bankruptcy from a previous business in Ireland, where we’d been caught out in the credit crunch. All the advice I was receiving was that to file for bankruptcy yourself gives you a significant advantage, rather than waiting to be forced into it by creditors. However, we threw the I Ching about what to do. And the answer was – nothing! My ego did not like this one little bit, I can assure you, and yet this is what we did.


We just waited to see what would happen. To cut a long story short, we didn’t file for bankruptcy, and we were not made bankrupt either – the whole situation was resolved in a completely miraculous way (something my
limited mind would never have been able to imagine). If we had done the apparently ‘sensible’ thing, I would have felt (relatively speaking) in control; my ego would have been in charge. As it was, we took a very modest action indeed – doing nothing – and consequently had to then cope with all the feelings that that brought up. Not an easy path to take perhaps, and not even the one that is right for everyone in a similar situation, but it proved right for us in the end.

To run your business co-creatively with your inner wisdom requires courage, commitment and consistency.

Courage – because not many other people are doing this, and you will likely be regarded as quite mad if you talk about it (hence the need to have colleagues on the same path).
Commitment – because this path is one of small steps, often appearing to take a roundabout route to your destination, whereas the ego thinks the only way is straight there (and fast while you’re at it).

Consistency – because listening and acting on your inner wisdom needs to be done regularly in order for you to build up a calm confidence in this way of working.

If you are interested in building your business co-creatively in this manner, but have never tried it before, I suggest starting small! In some of the smaller decisions that have to be made, take some time out to consult your own inner wisdom (or perhaps the I Ching – I use Carol K. Anthony’s A Guide to the I Ching, which is an interpretive manual to the classic translation, and easy to understand). When you have received an insight, take action on it and see what happens – and then let me know!

Jane Duncan Rogers, aka “The Spiritual Business Coach,” helps small businesses to improve their performance in all areas by working co- creatively with spirit. For a taste of what she offers, sign up to receive her free weekly email ‘Spirit of RichThinking’, plus a copy of her free report ‘7 Steps to Thinking Rich’ at

9 thoughts on “How Modesty Can Be a Plus in Your Business

  1. Hi Jane, delighted to hear the good news about you husbands health. I pray it continues and that you are both supported through this as you clearly have been.
    I was in Aberdeen for the first time end os sept visiting a cousin who lives there. We spent some time in Stonehaven which was beautiful. If you get the chance spend some time there.

    I just want to say how much I enjoyed your article. It is just brilliant. So clear and so honest too. It makes so much sense as I read it.
    I’ll be sending it on to friends.

    Thanks & take care
    ( We meet on Nicola’s forum)

  2. Thank you for raising this Jane. I find I’m not very skilled at dealing with egos that want to cheat and ‘get the better of me’ on a worldly level. I know everyone does it, but I don’t condone the behaviour. Recently I was meditating on generosity and within the space of 24 hours two people cheated me in different ways. Although not serious incidents in themselves, the ego patterns shown were the sort of patterns that decimate the lives of others, and successfully managed to cheat me out of what should have been rightfully mine. How fortunate I was to percieve this as a karmic clearing. Even if I’m kidding myself, it still feels heaps better. On a worldly level, I’ll be looking into assertiveness training.

    • Hi Mr Fluffy, this is a great example of using both the inner and the outer to move forward. Being in human bodies, we need to do the practical, outer stuff (like assertiveness training) just as much as the inner work. Thank you.

  3. Hi Jane

    As always your words are inspiring and innovative. I love these stories about using the I Ching. It’s been my best friend for many years now and helps with all of the important decisions. For me the key to using it is, as you said, it requires contemplation. Ask a question and then wait to understand the answer, turning the words around in your consciousness until they make sense and fall into place.

    The ego doesn’t want to stop and contemplate, so consulting the I Ching is of course stepping outside of the ego and looking at things differently.

    Thank you for reminding me why I continue to use it. I actually never contemplated that until now!

    Best wishes
    Aisling X

  4. Hi Jane
    Relating to the comments from Mr Fluffy, in the past 15 months I have been cheated out of around £160,000 by 3 separate and un-related start-up companies, most recently in the last 2 months. We are devastated and considering filing for personal bankruptcy. There truly are people who fit the description to perfection and after many years in business, I seem to have attracted the wrong sort!


    • Wow, Tom. That is quite something. I imagine it’s quite a challenge to not let it take you over completely. But then that is the opportunity too, of course. May love prevail, whatever form that takes. Sending you support and healing thoughts.

  5. Thank you so much Jane for your inspiring and so refreshing words. I realise from your article how hidden the affects of the ego are for me at times, and what a bumpy ride I give myself and those around me when my ego rules the roost!
    My thoughts are with you and your husband at this time. I am so glad the news is good.
    Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us.

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