Virtue is not left to stand alone

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practice it will have neighbors.”

—attributed to Confucius

cartoon of a neighborhood party

Image from KC Parent

How do you stack up as a good neighbor or close friend?

Consider rating yourself from one to ten – with one being low and ten being high – regarding the following attributes of the word, virtue:

  • Goodness
  • Morality
  • Integrity
  • Dignity
  • Honor
  • Decency
  • Respectability
  • Honesty
  • Service-Oriented
  • Ethical

EXERCISE:

How can and will you attract more professional and personal friends and neighbors to yourself by living an even more virtuous life?

A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

—Charles Spurgeon, 19th Century English Preacher

Image of a hand holding a pair of shoes

Image from Unsplash by Kristian Egelund

Over the past year or so, most of us have become aware of the dramatic increase in “Fake News.” During the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, various news outlets went to considerable lengths to disentangle the outright lies and half truths, and get to the facts.

Unfortunately, on many occasions, the truth seems far less interesting than the fake news. Since all media outlets seek greater attention and higher ratings, the path to the truth can be slow and laborious.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what matters can and will you “lace up” the truth in your personal or professional communities, to bring far greater integrity to the world?

The Town Gossip

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

—Will Rogers, 20th Century American Cowboy Humorist

Image of a parrot

Image from Flickr by Martin Pettitt

Did you know that parrots experience peer pressure? Just like humans, they desire to fit in with others in their group. This is one reason they learn to copy the sounds and language of the people around them.

This morning at the gym one of the other regulars was talking with a trainer. I was shocked by the level of vulgarity, back-stabbing, and general gossip in their conversation, especially being in a public place.

EXERCISE:

How do your actions and use of language stand up to the parrot test? What adjustments might you make to have the town gossip say only good things, or at the very least, say nothing about you?

Don’t stray from yourself

“Don’t ever stray away from yourself to get closer to someone else.”

—Author Unknown

Image from www.scribendi.com

Image from www.scribendi.com

Imagine you are shopping for a new pair of shoes, a suit, or an outfit. In the process, you consider color, style, price, and of course, the fit of each item. When all the factors are optimized, we usually make the purchase. If the factors don’t fit, we usually save our money and keep looking.

What does it mean to stray away from yourself? Who are the people that best fit with your most authentic self? How often do you experience relationships with others that, on a gut level, seem to miss that genuine connection?

EXERCISE:

Where, currently or in the past, have you strayed from your values, beliefs, and priorities to get closer to others, even when your gut raises a red flag?

How can you use the same values, beliefs, and priorities to attract and engage the people who are the best “fit” in your personal and professional lives?

“The first impression may be…”

“The first impression may be the only impression.”

—Author Unknown

image from jimmycasas.blogspot.com

image from jimmycasas.blogspot.com

In our fast-paced world, we generate first impressions in a matter of seconds—sometimes nano-seconds.

What impression do people have of you through your appearance, your spoken words, and even your letters, emails, texts, or social media posts?

EXERCISE:

What efforts can you make today to assure that people get the very best impression of you?  As today’s quote suggests, it may be the only one they have.

“Whatever you want to do…”

“Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”

—Michael Landon, American actor, writer, director, and producer

Image from Twitter.com

Image from Twitter.com

If you were born today and knew you would live to be 82 years old, you would have approximately 30,000 tomorrows. That you are an adult reading this post means you probably have a fairly large number of yesterdays behind you.

Many of us get caught up in the daily flow of life where weekends and vacations become the primary times we do more of what we want to do. Doing the things we love each and every day of the week, including our vocations, enriches our lives and the world even more, bringing a new level of growth and satisfaction to all of our “tomorrows.”

EXERCISE:

Create a mini professional and personal bucket list just for this week or this month. Take Michael Landon’s coaching and get started immediately.

Feel free to comment on this post or email me with the actions you are taking.

“Spam is like shoplifting. [It’s] theft…”

“Spam is like shoplifting. [It’s] theft of a tiny amount of a very valuable asset – (Time).”

Seth Godin, American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker

Photo from www.bookwormroom.com

Photo from www.bookwormroom.com

Most people I work with value honesty and integrity. I’m pretty sure that none of them would consider themselves criminals, or in the case of today’s quote, shoplifters.

Consider the current state of your e-mail system. How many messages do you have at this moment? What percent of these messages are valuable and desirable? What percent are necessary but a cause for frustration? Finally, what percent do you consider spam that literally steals precious moments of your day?

EXERCISE:

What actions can you take today to more carefully utilize e-mail and perhaps social media as well, to recapture a bit more of the precious resource of time?

Consider discussing today’s quote with others in your professional and personal communities, to amplify the value of this exercise.

“Never go to a doctor whose…”

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.”

—Erma Bombeck, American humorist & columnist

dying-houseplant1

One of the first pieces of advice I share with those just beginning a coaching career is to engage their own coach to support their professional and personal achievements.

How can they expect clients to hire them as a coach if they don’t walk the talk and demonstrate the value and impact of coaching through their own life?

It would be a classic breach of integrity, and clients would notice it immediately. This is one of the added benefits of being a coach in that you can’t help others achieve their goals without taking a good hard look at your own, and doing the work necessary to reach them.

EXERCISE:

How can you better exemplify the highest standards of integrity and excellence in your professional and personal lives?

 

“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy and integrity…”

“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”

– Warren Buffett, American businessman, inventor, and philanthropist

519Image from Flickr by blu-news.org.

If there is a single quality that I look for in a potential coaching candidate, it’s integrity. Whenever I examine the reasons for the success of all the individuals I’ve coached, integrity seems to trump all other factors – perhaps because it’s foundational for many other qualities and characteristics, including:

  • Honesty
  • Quality of relationships
  • Leadership
  • Courage
  • Hard work
  • Dedication
  • Persistence
  • Loyalty
  • Character
  • Service to others
  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • Drive

Just as a building will stand firmly on a solid foundation, a life and career built on a foundation of integrity will stand powerfully and endure.

Exercise:

What actions can you take today to associate with others of high integrity? What steps can you take now and in the future to be the type of person who Warren Buffett would gladly hire?

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity…”

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

– Don Miguel Ruiz, Mexican spiritualist author

473Image from Flickr by Brisbane City Council

We have all heard the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Our words have the power to tear down and destroy – or in the case of truth and love, to bring the world together.

We rarely hear the word “impeccable”. It points to an exemplary standard of excellence seldom seen today, and yet it can be the basis of character that we can all aspire to (and choose to follow in our leaders).

Unfortunately, more often than not, we see only rare glimpses of this impeccability – and even then, the actions we observe fall short of the mark. Take heart, however, in the fact that truth and love are two of the most powerful forces in humanity, and that fundamentally, we all strive for them every day, despite our shortcomings.

Exercise:

How can you and will you raise your own standard of impeccability of your word to forge all the wondrous benefits that truth and love provide?

A simple way to begin is with a promise you make to yourself and others. Feel free to let me know your intentions in this area and the results which you discover.