“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”
—Oliver Goldsmith, 18th Century Irish Poet
Over the past few years I have gained a great interest in history, with a particular emphasis on the lives of remarkable people who have shared our world.
In his book, The Road to Character, author David Brooks focuses on the deeper values that inform the lives of numerous pivotal figures. I had no knowledge of many of them before reading this book.
Introducing the terms “resumé virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” Brooks points to the external achievement of wealth, fame, and status, comparing them to qualities that lie at the core of our being, such as kindness, bravery, honesty, and faithfulness. How we balance the two types of virtues along our life journey represents the road to character we can choose to navigate and explore.
Who are the leaders and special individuals – today, and from the past – that helped you become the person you are today?
What examples did they set through their daily efforts as well as their words?
What sermons are you delivering each day in your personal and professional communities?
“Character is a diamond that scratches every other stone.”
—Cyrus A. Bartol, 19th Century Theologian
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Diamonds are one of the hardest substances on earth, and will be here far longer than most other stones, which erode over time.
Character, or one’s personality traits, are the foundation for the strengths we attribute to others and ourselves as we operate within our personal and professional communities.
Rate yourself from one (low) to ten (high) on the personality traits that comprise your character:
What actions can and will you take to strengthen your character to develop the solid reputation you desire?
“Gossip is the Devil’s Radio.”
-George Harrison, member of The Beatles
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I clearly recall my parents emphasizing the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Unfortunately, this altruistic idea is difficult when we desire to belong and fit in with our various communities.
Using the radio metaphor, where do you stand in your willingness to receive destructive transmissions? When do you initiate them? Given our hyper-connected social media world, these messages can spread like wildfire.
What if you choose to be an angel – rather than a devil- by sharing only positive, affirming messages today? What would be possible if we all engaged in this approach?
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
—H. Jackson Brown, Jr. author of Life’s Little Instruction Book
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Virtually everyone entering into a coaching relationship desires a better future. They want to go beyond ordinary, to achieve EXTRA-ordinary results and relationships in all aspects of their lives.
Doing your best and going the extra mile today is one sure bet that you will be further down the road when you take your first steps tomorrow morning.
Examine the following areas of your life to decide what extra attention and effort you will take to support your better tomorrow:
Make the commitment: reply to this post to let me know what actions you plan to take.
“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”
-Zig Ziglar, late American author and motivational speaker
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Who are some of the small-minded people in your personal or professional worlds? What qualities or characteristics have you assigned to them? See how many of the following qualities describe those who appear to have diminishing or completely crushing the dreams of others as their purpose:
How can you reduce or eliminate the small-minded people in your world, and replace them or attract more big-minded people to support your biggest personal and professional dreams?
Consider making a list of the big-minded qualities and characteristics to help you recognize these folks when you meet or see them.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
—Fred Devito, American Yoga Instructor
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What areas of your personal or professional life would you most like to change for the better? How long have you wanted these changes in your life? If your answer is “far longer than I care to admit,” a new approach will be required.
The New Year is just around the corner and a high percentage of people will be looking to resolve or achieve far more this time around.
One key to this success is to choose only a small number of challenging objectives that will cause you to stretch and grow, and to garner many more social and structural sources of support to virtually guarantee your success.
List one or two challenging goals for the New Year. Display them in multiple places in your personal and professional worlds. Solicit the rigorous support of a coach, mentor, family member, or friend, who will not give up on you to assure the lasting changes and results you desire.
Once this has occurred, select another priority goal and repeat the process, to have your best year yet!
“Don’t give up what you want the most for what you want right now.”
-attributed to Peter Rossomando, Head Football Coach at CCSU
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A characteristic shared by many of the most successful people is their ability to delay gratification in order to achieve their most highly desired objectives.
In the late 60s/early 70s Stanford University psychologist Walter Mischel did a study in which children ages four to six were given the choice between one marshmallow provided immediately, or two marshmallows if they waited for 15 minutes. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that those who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes.
What disciplined actions, behaviors, and habits must you develop in order to resist short-term wants so that you can realize your most cherished and valued priorities?