Character Creates Opportunity® – Taking Action: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

someday never comes” – John Fogerty, lead singer for Credence Clearwater Revival

For many reading this blog, the rhythm from that song and the music of CCR brings back a few memories of their youth (others maybe saying, “Who in the world is John Fogerty and CCR?”).  As we continue to build and strengthen our character, an important topic to address is the need to take action today, rather than putting things off.

Let’s face it, we all know the basics of things we should do to strengthen important relationships, improve our health, expand our thinking, or be better positioned to grow in our career.  Many times, our excuse for not doing these things is that it is just not the “right time” to take action.  “I will go back to school once the kids get a little older”…”I will forgive once the sting of the betrayal subsides a little more”…”I will reach out to that family member once I get through this busy time at work”…”I will get back to exercising in the springtime”.  As we have all experienced, many times that “right time” never comes about or when it does, we have a host of other obstacles and “someday never comes.” In the worst of scenarios, that individual or opportunity is gone forever and we missed the opportunity completely.

An important aspect of building and strengthening our character is the simple act of taking action to continue moving forward in what we know in our heart is the right direction.  Today’s message is not about dropping everything and pursuing that big bold idea that has been weighing on your soul (if that fits you, great, but that is not the intent of this message).  Today’s message is more about taking a few small steps forward on what we know is needed. 

I know I should reach out to a friend who is on my mind…just start it with a quick email or text.  I know I should take the first step to mend a troubled family relationship…just pick up the phone and say hello without an agenda.  For that desire to exercise, don’t buy expensive equipment or a new gym membership, just start walking around the block and literally take it one step at a time.

Some of our biggest opportunities to build and strengthen our character involve taking action in our relationships with others.  We all have a tendency to avoid the difficult conversations to repair a troubled relationship.  It is never easy and the emotional pain from prior struggles remains with us and makes it even harder to re-engage.  I would just like to reinforce that relationships with others will always be intertwined with every endeavor of life.  Relationships are worth the effort and it is our character that will create opportunity to improve the relationship.

I will leave you with one easy step that has helped me out in the past.  Try writing a letter.  Yes, an old fashioned hand-written letter.  Nobody gets these anymore and I can almost guarantee that an individual in a very troubled relationship will still open a letter and read it in the quiet of his/her own time.  Keep it short with a focus on care and concern versus justifying or blaming.  Let the letter be a first step to softening defenses and perhaps open a door to reconnect and a path to restoration.  If nothing else, you can be at peace knowing you took some action to ensure “someday” finally came. 

I will be a little bold and take it one step further and much closer to home.  Many times the letter does not even need a stamp as the relationship we need to restore is within our home.

Taking action, when we know it is needed, is an important aspect of building and strengthening character and our Character Creates Opportunity® to build strong relationships.

What ways have you found to reconnect with a challenging relationship?  Please share a comment below.