The Steps to Effectiveness: Part I – Character Creates Opportunity®: May 16, 2019

We are all working hard to be more effective in the roles we play in the home, at work, and in the community. There is an ever-present need to improve our game in order to be our best for those we care about most in a world that is no longer simple and predictable.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, it is critical that we understand the basic steps to being more effective in the roles we play and maintain some degree of momentum in order to make progress towards reaching our goals.

In part I of the Steps to Effectiveness, we will address the need to be a life-long learner.

For many of us, we have continued to learn to use more advanced technology in all areas of our lives. Even the simple task of finding something to watch on TV has resulted in us learning to use a massive remote control with enough buttons to launch a rocket. We continue to learn through software upgrades on how to use our smart phones, drive our cars, and manage our finances.

Although we may complain and struggle a bit, we have all managed to be life-long learners in the technologies we use in our lives in order to be more effective.

An important question to ask ourselves is, what is holding us back in applying as much energy and steady commitment to be a life-long learner in the important roles we play in the home, at work, and in our community?

Given the growing complexity of the world around us, we need to be life-long learners in order to more effective in the important roles we play. The comment that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” should have no place in our minds as we strive to be our best for those we care about most.   

Here some thoughts to keep building the momentum to be a life-long learner in order to be more effective in the important areas of our lives:

  • We are all clearly capable of continuing to learn, even after we graduate from school. The simple use of technology in our lives demonstrates we can learn new things if we choose to do so. Making the choice to be a life-long learner in the important areas of life is simply the right thing to do.
  • We will fail and fall short of some goals in life. As a life-long learner, we should view failures or falling short of goals as an opportunity to learn as oppose to a reinforcement that we are not good enough or not capable enough to make a positive difference. Learning helps us grow to be more effective next time.
  • We all have influence on those around us, whether we acknowledge it or not. As we commit to be a life-long learner and become more effective in the roles we play, we set a great example for those we care about most.

As we apply effort and a steady commitment to becoming a life-long learner, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity to be more effective in the important roles we play at home, work, and in the community.

What Do You See? – Character Creates Opportunity®: May 9, 2019

There is no doubt that life is complicated and often messy in the home, at work, and in the community.

When there seems to be a never-ending cycle of uncertainty in important areas of our lives, we could benefit from universal and timeless truth to help us keep moving forward in a world that can sometimes leave us dazed and confused.

A simple reminder of truth today is that we become what we think about…we become what we “see” in our mind’s eye. Whether we subscribe to the teachings of some famous personal development guru, some “enlightened” individual, or we believe in the Book of Proverbs that says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” our take-away is the same. Regardless of our reference point, the truth remains, we become what we “see” in our mind’s eye.

We don’t need a PhD in psychology from a prestigious university, to be a member of the 1% or the 99% in terms of financial wealth, or to sit in a corner office to understand the simple, timeless, and universal truth that we become what we see in our mind’s eye. We could reference numerous academic studies, cite quotes from individuals who have had real impact in our world, or think back along our own experience, and the conclusion would be the same…what I dwell on in my mind, so much so that it becomes crystal clear, I become.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, an important question we need to ask ourselves is, “What do I ‘see’ today?” In our own mind’s eye, not in the view of a spouse, a parent, a boss, a teacher, a TV broadcaster, a mentor, but what do we “see” in our own view?

Do we see adversity that we cannot overcome? Do we see relationships that are best to be broken instead of repaired and strengthened?

Or…

Do we see an opportunity to rise above? Do we see challenge and a view of overcoming? Do we see the reality of close relationships struggling in the near term, but in the long view, see love, forgiveness, and togetherness?

Do we see a business with present-day challenges, but opportunity on the horizon? Do we see communities divided, but a pathway to cooperation and support?

Or…Do we just see dark clouds all around us?

Each one of us has the freedom to choose what we see in our own mind’s eye. However, the truth is that even with the freedom to choose, there are moments of some really dark days where we all could use an encouraging nudge to help us move off the negative and focus on the positive. I hope this note can be the push you need (or the loving shove if necessary) to choose the positive viewpoint over the negative.  

What do you “see” today?

In our present time of challenge, it would be helpful to remember the simple truth that we become what we see in our mind’s eye and ensure our lens is adjusted to see our present challenges as an opportunity to overcome and reach our full potential as individuals, families, and communities.

As we remind ourselves to refocus our mind’s eye with principles, like patience, perseverance, and hope, we build and strengthen our character, and Character Creates Opportunity for us to create the future we desire and rise to reach our full potential.

Small Steps – Character Creates Opportunity®: May 2, 2019

If we are being honest with ourselves, we can all acknowledge some challenges that come about with close relationships in the home, at work, and in the community. Life gets complicated and often messy when it comes to our close relationships.

The bookshelves of the local library, bookstore, and the virtual shelves of Amazon are filled with books containing all sorts of tips and techniques to help us build better relationships with those we care about most. The resources help us have difficult conversations, help us appreciate each other’s differences, and help us find moments of joy in the daily grind we may find ourselves in.

Many times, we over-complicate things.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, we can simplify our approach and take a few small steps each day to make a big, positive difference in the relationships that matter most to each of us.

These small steps don’t require a PhD in psychology, attendance at a weekend conference, or a life-coach to keep us on track. We can handle most of these ourselves.

  1. A simple smile…instead of a frown. Just the casual glance accompanied by a nice smile can consistently lift the spirits of the other person and provide a positive boost to the relationship.
  2. A simple word of encouragement…instead of judgment (from our limited point of view). Comments like “I believe in you” and “you’ve got this” can make a big difference with someone facing a difficult decision.
  3. A simple touch…instead of a cold shoulder. The warmth of a touch on the shoulder or a hug kicks off a wave of biochemical reactions in the body that has been demonstrated to boost our immune system, fight depression, and break down huge relationship barriers that most likely were created by a poor choice of words in the heat of the moment.
  4. Put the phone away and look someone in the eye. No need to explain this further.    

A popular Swedish proverb is a helpful reminder of the importance of being our best with those we care about most: “Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

When we consistently take some small steps to build healthy relationships, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity for us to have a positive impact on those around us.