Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Your character is who you are and what you do when no one is looking. It defines you. It’s what people see. It’s what people remember about you after you’re gone. A person with good character is worth imitating and remembering.
Good character includes the following qualities (taken from James Hunter`s book The Servant):
Character is like a tree,
and reputation like its shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it;
the tree is the real thing (Abraham Lincoln).
5 Secrets to Growing Strong Character
1. You aren`t born with strong character.
You and I are born with a personality. Character is developed.
Here is how it works. If for example you want to develop more patience, have kids, work on a team, learn to play the piano, unlearn a bad habit. By putting yourself in a situation requiring a particular character trait, you have the opportunity to develop in that area.
I used to be uncomfortable and lacked kindness and empathy for the sick and injured. Now after eight surgeries and 96 days in the hospital, I’m right at home!
2. Character growth requires self-awareness.
Character growth requires self reflection and self-awareness. You can only change and grow when you are aware of a need to do so and can catch yourself needing change. During my recovery, I looked in the mirror and saw how my pride was keeping others from helping me. I had to learn to let others help me and realized in doing so, it was good for both of us!
3. Frequent feedback is essential for character growth.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions (Ken Blanchard). Whether you are a full time mom, boss, truck driver, student nurse, or retired banker, you need feedback to grow.
Feedback is when you invite those you trust to catch you doing things right and wrong and then allowing them to speak kindly yet honestly into your life. Receiving the feedback gives you the opportunity to continue doing what’s working and adjusting in the areas that need work.
4. Grow your character one trait at a time.
Behaviorally it’s almost impossible to focus on more than one character trait at a time. Because of that, the key is to take baby steps with your character growth and work on one quality at a time. As you do, it will surprise you how far you can get in six months.
5. Don’t leave your character growth to chance.
If you fail to plan your character growth, plan to fail. The best way to improve at something is to make a plan and then work the plan.
After our motorcycle accident, I quickly realized that patience wasn`t my strong suit. So I started taking deep breaths and consciously chose to take one day at a time. I learned to let go and let God put the pieces back together again. Am I ever glad I did seeing that I`m in my 19th month of patiently waiting for the repairs and recovery to be over!
Which of the eight character qualities do you need to work on?
Where will you start and who will you get to help you?