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The Magic of Humility and Leadership

Do you know what it means to humble? Let alone, what it looks like?

Being humble means you show modesty without arrogance. Meaning that your sense of self-importance, regardless of ranking or life status, is equal to or even less than what you assume of those around you. Humility is the quality of being humble. It is a value associated with one’s ability to learn and become an effective leader, along with their willingness to promote prosocial behavior. People who act with humility help others, remain grateful, and show no pride. Unfortunately, not everyone chooses to exercise humility. Let’s take a look at Disney’s latest movie Encanto and see how it’s main character Maribel shows us the magic of humility and leadership.

Willingness to Look at the Bigger Picture

Encanto, tells the story of the magical family, the Madrigal’s, the town’s most beloved family known for their miracle they were blessed with many years ago. “The Miracle Candle” was gifted to Abuela when her husband Pedro sacrificed himself to soldiers who forced them out of their home, which created the family’s magical “casita.”

In the Madrigal family, at the age of five, all of the children take part in a “Gifting Ceremony.” The Gifting Ceremony is where the family member receives their magical gift from the Miracle Candle. The Miracle Candle must stay lit for the casita’s magic to work. Knowing this, Abuela stops at nothing to protect the flame and magic of the candle and home over the next generations to come. Our main character Mirabel, Abuela’s granddaughter, never received a magical gift at her gifting ceremony, making her the only Madrigal with no magical power. Although this left Maribel feeling like the black sheep of the family, it never stopped her from treating each family member with love and kindness, willingness to listen, and most important, recognizing how “magical” and “fantastical” La Familia Madrigal is to the town, as Abuela wishes. Maribel expresses her gratefulness of her family by highlighting each of their magical traits, hyping them up, putting them first, and displaying appreciation for the casita throughout the movie. From crediting her sister Luisa’s strength and reminding her she’s good enough, to helping her cousin Antonio shake his nerves before his Gifting Ceremony, these acts of kindness show us little ways to be humble in our daily lives and let the art of mastering humility be something attainable for all of us. We watch her character thrive and be happy by bringing others up. She didn’t focus on what the world viewed her to be “missing” and instead shined a positive light on all those around her. Something we can all do.

They Don’t Talk About Bruno-But Maribel Will!

As the movie progresses, Abuela becomes so consumed in the Madrigals’ magical personas that she fails to realize the casita is starting to fall apart, but Maribel is quick to notice. Maribel takes it upon herself to find out why, as any true leader would, and looks to the history of her Tio (uncle) Bruno, known for his gift of visualizing the future. His gift often left other family members upset and angry when told their destiny causing the family to “not talk about Bruno.” Especially when Abuela made Bruno visualize what was wrong with the casita’s magic when Maribel never received her gift as a little girl. He finds that Maribel could be the reason behind the casita breaking or falling apart as she gets older. Thinking humbly, he banishes himself from La Familia Madrigal, leaving the vision behind in hopes that Abuela will not blame Maribel in the years ahead. Unfortunately, she does, and eventually, Maribel finds the vision as well, urging her to find her Tio for answers.

Mirabel’s efforts to not let her family’s negative opinions of Bruno stop her from finding and connecting with him showcases humility in full effect. Effective leaders do not let the thoughts of others stop them from doing what’s right. They make hard choices to go against the crowd, even if it is an unpopular opinion.

As the story continues, Mirable finds her Tio Bruno and discovers the truth that Abuela knew the casita’s potential outcome all along. Instead of becoming angry, Mirabel and Bruno remain humble by focusing on saving their family and casita instead of focused on their own hurt feelings. They found the strength to continue to work for the greater good of all instead of just themselves. Bruno has another vision in which Maribel must reconcile with what seems to be her sister Isabela, who’s engagement party Maribel had just ruined. Although Maribel may be somewhat envious of Isabel’s “perfect” magical life, she hardly shows jealousy and swallows her pride to resolve their differences because a natural leader chooses to step out of their comfort zone regardless of the situation, as they desire the best outcome for all. In turn, Maribel’s reconciliation helps Isabela to find her true self and strengthens the bond between the two. Recognizing the impact Mirabel has started to make on the family, Abuela becomes upset with Mirabel’s attempts to save their home and her anger causes the casita to break and the Magical Candle to lose its flame.

Humility and Forgiveness

After recognizing her lack of love and understanding toward Maribel and her son Bruno, Abuela does some self-reflection. Abuela eventually admits to becoming so consumed with the awe the Madrigal’s provided the town with their miracle, she had forgotten why she received her blessing in the first place. She was putting the magic above everyone else. The miracle came from the magic of the love Pedro left behind when he sacrificed himself to save her and their children, which arguably could be one of the biggest examples of humility in this movie. Realizing her lack of appreciation, she apologizes to Maribel for not accepting her absence of magic. We applaud Abuela for putting in the work to self-reflect and see how her actions impact the circumstances. It is not always and easy thing to admit when you have been selfish. Being the humble person she is, Maribel forgives her Abuela and holds nothing against her. She is willing and open to mending relationships. She chooses to empathize and acknowledge the pain and suffering Abuela had to endure to receive their miracle and keep their family together. Maribel quickly realizes this was the reconciliation from Bruno’s vision that needed to happen to keep the casita together, and instead of dwelling in the heartbreak of the casita’s demise, she looks at this as an opportunity to restore the casita and reunite Bruno with their family. Once again, the town becomes inspired with La Familia Madrigal, acting as a community to help rebuild the casita. When all is said and done, the final touch to the renovated casita is its doorknob, which the Madrigal’s felt Maribel earned the right to install. Upon placement, she restores the magic of the casita and their miracle, where we find that Mirabel’s magic lied within her humility and inclination to lead the family in the right direction all along.

We can all remember this little bit. Even though the gifts of someone (or ourselves) might not being obvious to the world, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist within.

Encanto teaches us that it simply takes one person with intent to act and lead with humility to achieve great things. Humble leaders actively listen, seek to retain healthy relationships, and put the feelings and needs of others before their own. Whether amongst your family or your team at work or school, it is important to remember the power that acts of humility and humbled leadership hold when things seem to be falling apart.

When the next opportunity presents itself to raise up those around you and to support the greater good, try to channel Maribel’s humble magic, and use it to make things magical for all those around you.


A self-described geek, Maria Laquerre-Diego is a CEO and Owner who is committed to increasing access to mental health services and breaking down the stigma surrounding therapy services. As a therapist turned CEO, Maria has developed a unique perspective when it comes to mental health and the barriers surrounding mental health treatment. Influenced by her time at New Mexico State University in the Family and Consumer Science department, and University of New Hampshire’s Marriage and Family Therapy department, Maria has turned her dedication to giving back and supporting future generations of therapists. In addition to supporting mental health providers, Maria takes an active role in addressing the continued stigma of mental health services through the use of pop culture – everything from movies and television shows to superheroes and Disney characters. Maria has spoken about mental health at several local events, has served as an officer on professional boards and has provided training to clinicians all over the country while maintaining her and her family’s roots as Aggies! Outside of the office, Maria can be found spending time with her family and loved ones, exploring the world through travel, and creating cosplays for herself, her husband and their two little ones. Maria is always happy to talk about Star Wars, Marvel and mental health and can be contacted through her practice website

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