For two decades, Rod Dixon was one of the world’s greatest athletes. He was an Olympic medalist, two-time World Cross Country Championship Medalist, and the 1500m Champion of the United States, France, Great Britain, and New Zealand. He won in prestigious road races at the Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, and the Philadelphia Half Marathon. And to this day, his victory in the 1983 New York City Marathon remains one of the most dramatic finishes the event has ever seen.

Today, Rod will talk about anything and everything, except his legendary running career. He’ll not mention the Olympics or any other of his races. Step inside his home, and you won’t see Olympic medals or awards, or even pictures of his running career. A writer asked him, “I don’t see anything on your walls about your achievements. Is there a reason?” Rod responded, “I’m not defined by my medals and my accomplishments. I’m defined by the people who love me and those I love and serve in return.”

Normally, the signs of an executive's ego are hung on all the walls, on full display, at home and in the office — awards, plaques, trophies. Autographed pictures with famous politicians, celebrities, professional athletes. Graduation degrees. The message: “If I won it, I hung it!”

Rod Dixon identifies his life not by the “what” he accomplished, but by the “who” he is as a person. Humility begins and ends with four magical words: IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about demonstrating that whom you love, whom you care about, and whom you lead is more important that what you accomplish. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

What hangs on your walls can tell a lot about you as a person, but sometimes, you can tell even more by what is not hanging there.

Jesus said it best, “For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:45)

— Fred Campbell, President of Living Grace Ministries, leads a one-day servant leadership workshop for church leaders. He can be reached at and