‘I should write a book’ — author Urs Koenig's journey

Speaker and author Urs Koenig.

Speaker and author Urs Koenig.

Urs Koenig flips the idea of self-help on its head, taking a humble approach to writing that proves to be honest and refreshing.

From a past military service to serving in the Peace Corps, Koenig has a unique experience that informs much of his book.

“I’ve been told for many years that I should write a book,” Koenig said.

Unsure of whether he wanted to contribute to the growing population of self-help books, Koenig decided not to take the advice and join the author community. He feared writing something that has been said a thousand times and no one would ever read.

It wasn't until his two peacekeeping deployments in the middle east that Koenigs mind was changed. When his mission was complete, he decided to finally listen and write about his experiences.

Radical Humility tells leaders how important it is to lead with humility and vulnerability. The book offers actionable steps to achieve this. With a growth mindset and self awareness, Koenig explains how to achieve strong results as a leader.

“Best leaders in the military peacekeeping force are deeply humble,” Koenig said. His experiences crystallized an interest that he already had in humble leadership.

Having been 22 years removed, Koenig was humbled when he returned for his peacekeeping deployment. He explains how on his first day he couldn't recollect how to put his uniform on.

“Going into a conflict area and trying to make a difference is humbling,” Koenig admits.

The author explains how his superiors inspired him in many ways. A Commanding officer saw she’d made a mistake in a report and owned that vulnerability.

“The best commander I've ever had held me accountable for subpar work I produced. He told me, ‘I love you Urs, and this is not good enough’, he truly loved me as a team member. From that day forward I didn't want to disappoint him,” Koenig explains.

Urs explains how he had to reframe and keep learning to make progress. It was through doing this and asking questions that he was influenced in writing his book.

“The experience of constantly being confronted with new and surprising twists of the conflict, and things that are hard to imagine in our world here- that's deeply humbling. And it really drives me. It drives me to ask bigger and harder questions, ” Koenig said.

He admits writing the book is hard work. His brain was muddled with anything, from questioning if badass is too strong of a word to whether or not his book was any good.

“I truly and intrinsically want to make my contribution to a better world,” Koenig explains. He deeply wanted his book to be personal, though still backed with hard evidence. He understands no one else could write his story and his experiences.

This is why he created actionable prompts throughout the book. This works with the five shifts to shift from leadership to heroic.

“The most important thing I'd like to see is readers do is implement some of the actionable exercises that I have in the book. Exercises that can help all of us to show up and lead with more humility,” Koenig said.

Koenig's books are available at Madison Books. A signing will take place on May 23 at Parlous Wines in Madison Park. Register via Events on the Madison Books website.

 Samara Boyce is a student writer at the University of Washington.