A few weeks ago Scott Raecker, Executive Director of Character Counts in Iowa spoke at a luncheon for my organization.
It really got the wheels in my head spinning faster. I say “faster” because for those who know me, they are always spinning. Sometimes so fast I have to take a few minutes to try and communicate them to you, other times…really slow. Like when I make a horrible(-ly awesome) decision to watch guilty pleasure TV, which is everything good on Lifetime Movie Network and Investigative Discovery.
When I watch my guilty pleasure TV, I realize that they have characters. We associate the word character with fiction. Something that is not real. Imaginary. Here comes my epiphany…character is anything but fictional.
Do you ever think about the kind of person you want to be?
Not famous driving your semi-truck of cash to the bank to deposit. Not sitting in your penthouse in NYC after you made your millions with that fabulous product that you sold on Home Shopping Network.
The person you want to be in your day to day interaction with others. The person you want to be when no one is watching.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I will treat you like a gentleman, sir. Not because you are one, but because I am.” Put that quote into perspective.
Your character has nothing to do with anyone but yourself.
I won’t sugar coat it (although everything is better with sugar). We all cross paths with people every day that get under our skin. They miss a deadline which causes your job to be ten times harder that week. They yell and scream when you do something wrong. Then they yell and scream when you do something right to correct the problem for them. You can’t make everyone cupcakes. You don’t have to like them, but how you respond to their actions is important. Being kind and fair in return does not mean you respect them as a person… it means you respect yourself.
I encourage everyone to work hard to be a person of good character in your workplace, home, and community.
Life is a lot easier when you aren’t playing a fictional character. The best person you can be is yourself.