An Important Chapter – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, February 14, 2019

In last week’s blog, we took some steps to manage our energy level and maximize our impact in our present situation. As we look to reach our full potential in the present, there is an important chapter we should not overlook in order to be our best. The important chapter is our past.

The most effective coffee shop and kitchen table counselors along with world renown academic psychologists would all come to the same conclusion that experiences in our past have a profound impact in shaping our present point of view and subconsciously guiding our actions in the present.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to process our past in a healthy understanding way in order to be our best for those we care about most.

All of us have some unresolved issues in the past from relationships that did not end well or experiences that range from bothersome to traumatic. No one escapes childhood/adolescence unscathed and our decisions as young adults begin to cement our past experiences into the guardrails that frame our point of view as we continue in life.

In looking to build and sustain healthy relationships in the present, we need to acknowledge the truth that we bring more to the table than the issues in the present. Here are a few practical steps to address our past in a healthy and productive way to ensure we can be the best version of ourselves in the present:

  1. Be Reflective: We need to take time to dig deep and thoroughly reflect on our past. This is not a one-time, five-minute moment of reflection. Chances are that we need to consistently reflect on past events in our childhood and our young adult journey to fully appreciate how those experiences are shaping our current beliefs and behaviors. Understanding the dominant emotions in our home as a child and our school/community experience will help us gain some insight on our past.
  2. Find Healing: For some reason, most of us prefer to bear our past burdens and struggles alone and in silence. We all need some help and deserve some support to process our past in a healthy healing way. Finding a trusted friend or family member, support group or counselor could be what is needed. Also, simply journaling about our past has been proven to be a great step in healing from some difficult situations.
  3. Learn and Grow: Since there is no “do-over” in life, we need to move forward no matter how heavy our backpack is from our past. The most effective way to view our past is to learn and grow from the experiences. An unhealthy way to view our past is as a constant reminder of our weaknesses and confirmation of our limitations. We should work hard to choose to learn and grow vs. finding another reason to believe we are not good enough. It is our choice on how we view our past and it is one of the most important choices we can make to reach our full potential in the present.

As we take the necessary steps to address our past in a healthy way, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to be our best for those we care about most at home, work, and in the community.

An Adult Dose of Life – Character Creates Opportunity®: Thursday, February 7, 2019

There is no denying the fact that life continues to grow in complexity and intensity. The challenges we face in building a strong family, succeeding at work in a vibrant global marketplace, and meeting the needs of our community require more than just a casual bystander’s effort to ensure we make a difference. For most of us, we are getting an adult dose of life and need to take some steps to ensure we can keep fighting the good fight.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to be intentional about managing our energy level and health to reach our full potential and make a positive impact on those we care about most.

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” This quote has been credited to General George Patton, Coach Vince Lombardi, and a handful of others. Regardless of who said it, it is a truth we can all relate to.

All of us at some point have reached a sense of being burned out, fatigued and not at our best. In order for us to be our best for those we care about most at home, work and in the community, we need to carve out time to take care of ourselves.

Don’t worry, this is not a call to action to take the latest vitamin supplement or exercise craze. Here are a few practical steps to manage our energy and health each day in order to be our best:

  1. Be present in the moment: When we remain focused on an individual, a task at hand, or an experience and we eliminate the distraction of multi-tasking, we minimize the energy drain of other mediocre efforts. In addition, being fully present in the moment with someone strengthens the relationship more than anything else we can do. Being mindful to pay full attention in these moment to moment experiences has been proven to support health and happiness.
  2. Find moments to decompress: Creating brief moments where we can unplug from the routine cadence of the daily grind provides us a significant source of renewed energy. Whether it is a few minutes of reading, having a snack without the distraction of checking email or social media, or taking a brief walk in the fresh air are all helpful steps to decompress daily and regain some energy.
  3. Connect on the long-term plan: We can get overwhelmed daily as we jump from one frying pan to the other which brings about fatigue and frustration at a fast rate. At some point in our day like an early morning or evening before bed, we should pick our heads up and reconnect with the long-term plan of our life. Taking a brief moment to step back and reflect on the big picture beyond our present situation has been proven to create the positive energy necessary to carry on.
  4. Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep: There is plenty of advice we can get on these topics and we all seem to have developed a good pattern of inconsistency on these commitments. This is a quick reminder that they are important and provide a little encouragement to get back on track if you have fallen off the rails.

As we take some small steps to ensure we have the energy to be our best for those we care about most, we build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to reach our full potential and have a positive impact on those around us.