Character Creates Opportunity® – The Small Steps That Matter: Thursday, June 2, 2016

“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 small steps of 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 small steps in the right direction.  “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”.  Well, as we have all experienced, many times that “right time” never comes about or when it does, we have a host of other self-described obstacles to the next “right time.” In the worst of scenarios, that individual or opportunity is gone forever and it becomes a painful, lingering regret that we struggle to shake off.

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 that matter toward what we know is needed.

Some of our biggest opportunities to build and strengthen our character involve taking action in our relationship with others.  We all have a tendency to avoid the difficult face to face 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.  Relationships are the fabric of our lives and will always be intertwined with every endeavor of life.  Maintaining healthy relationships, especially with those closest to us, is worth the effort, and it is our character that will create opportunities to bring health into troubled relationships.Shy woman and man sitting on sofa

Throughout history (and even in this digital age) there has been one small step that has helped many, including myself, to begin to address a strained relationship that has fallen off the tracks. 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 their 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 toward restoration.  If nothing else, you can be at peace knowing you took some small step of action to ensure “someday” finally came.

The cold hard reality of life is that many times the letter does not even need a stamp as the relationship we need to restore is within our home.

As we take small steps in the right direction, when we know it is needed, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to build strong healthy relationships, especially in our home.

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