Character Creates Opportunity® – Stay: Thursday, July 13, 2017

As we continue on our journey of building and strengthening our character, an important point to remember is that there is no finish line. 

I often use the enclosed graphic in speaking with people to highlight three realities along our journey: (1) There is no finish line with regards to our impact on the relationships around us.  Even in death, the legacy of our relationships lives on in the lives of those left behind (2) All important relationships endure some significant ups and downs and (3) When we choose to guide our thoughts, decisions, and actions by principles like honesty, compassion, and sacrifice, we strengthen our character and our relationships. When we fail to guide our thoughts, decisions, and actions by those same principles, we weaken our character and our relationships.

It is not uncommon in these discussions that the topic of personal sustainability comes up.  How can we sustain our efforts along this journey when we are told (a) there is no finish line (in essence, what is our pace for a race that has no finish line?) (b) there are some significant high points combined with some pretty significant low points, and (c) we need to take responsibility for the relationship even though it “takes two to tango.”

Below are three suggestions that I often offer to provide some support and encouragement to keep moving forward and I hope they are uplifting to you as well.

Stay Humble:  We really do reap what we sow as defined in the Law of the Harvest.  This is a very well-worn, principled path to achievement.  Although life is not always fair, more times than not, if we set a goal, make a plan to achieve that goal, work hard over time on delivering on the plan, we will reap a harvest and accomplish the goal.  We need to be careful not to let the momentum of our success build our pride as we will have a tendency to miss warning signs of pending challenges and our decision making will start to rely on our own track record and fail to take the counsel of others.  If we do not stay humble, the transparency that is our new reality has a tendency to crush our pride in very public and painful ways.  Stay humble.

Stay Hungry:  One of the biggest threats to building and strengthening our character and our relationships is when we get complacent and comfortable.  When we deny the reality that our journey will be filled with ups and downs, we get comfortable and complacent in so-called “good times.”  We fail to spend energy learning and growing in our relationships.  When our bellies are full, the bills are paid, and the sun is shining, we still need to hunger after raising the bar on ourselves and our relationships by delivering on the basics: serving more than taking, understanding more than judging, and listening more than talking.  Stay hungry.

Stay in the Ring:  No one is perfect and we all fall short from time to time.  It is important that we do not quit the fight when we make mistakes.   We should stay in the ring and keep fighting the good fight.  There is no more important game in town than building and strengthening our character and our relationships to have a positive impact along our journey.  Don’t choose to become a spectator, no matter how many times we fall short.  Stay in the ring.

As we stay humble, stay hungry, and stay in the ring, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to strengthen our relationships and have a greater impact in our homes, our businesses, and our communities.