Character vs. Performance

sprouting branch character vs performance

WOW!  We are now inside of 90 days left in this decade!!  Have you stopped to think about that!?  Can you remember where you were, who you were, and what you were doing at the end of 1999?  What were your dreams, ambitions, and goals?  What was your main focus?  How much has changed since then?  And how about now…have you already (perhaps unconsciously) thrown in the towel and decided to wait until 2020 to set new goals?  Or, are you willing to run full-speed to the finish line of this decade and throw yourself across the finish line with every ounce of passion you possess?

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not where you “planned” to be by now.  The million-dollar question is what we’ll do with today!  It’s so easy to let time slip by.  We blink and another year passes, yet we’re no closer to our goal than we were a year ago. We didn’t mean for it to happen that way—we just got busy.  Years ago, I read in a book that busy-ness is just another form of laziness, because it’s easier to remain in the rat race than to stop and redesign our lives. Ouch.  The calendar will keep turning and time will keep marching, so we must stop putting our purpose on hold. In fact, the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that if we wait for perfect conditions, we’ll never get anything done. So, we’re all in agreement that we must seize the day!

We’re going to embrace the idea of short-term superior performance for long-term gain. Statistics show that it takes about ninety days to build momentum, so if you really crank during this fall season and exercise true discipline and self-management, you can dance into the new decade with your head held high. But, how do we break out of the old rut-of-best-intentions to actually earn the promotion we’ve been wanting for so long? This is a hard lesson that I insisted on learning the hard way: You will not earn the promotion until you outgrow your current level of performance and your current level of character. And the real challenge is in which comes first. If you’re like most of us, you’re ready to take action. You want to DO something to get the ball rolling and see some results. We tend to jump right into the action—and wonder why we keep falling short of our desired results. Here is what I found: we must be willing to embrace the character development in conjunction with our activity, because as we begin to strengthen who we are and what we stand for on the inside, that drives the performance to create our results. Of course, the biggest problem is that when we’re truly most in-need of a little character development, we fight it with every fiber of our beings. We’re either totally unaware that we’ve become our own lid, we “think” we know it all and have it all together, or we stubbornly refuse the growth and blame our current failure on external circumstances.

So, how are we to know if we could use a little character development? It’s been said that when facing a major crossroads in life, “Your future happiness depends on how you respond to the following question: Which is stronger, your urge to grow? Or your resistance to change? If you want to grow, if you truly want to reach your fullest potential, then you have to step out and accept challenges, rather than rationalize all of the reasons you should stay rooted to ‘what I am’, instead of committing yourself to ‘what I could become’”. Or as Jon Bon Jovi put it, “Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time; you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.”

In my leadership workshops, we always discuss extensively the topic of developing the character to drive the performance we desire. I often share with my clients and students that for a very long time, what I thought I deserved was standing in the way of what I really wanted. Until I finally consented to stop being a brat in those areas of my life, I could not see my own picture with enough clarity to assess what needed to change to know where to take the right kind of action. Most of us go through phases of life where we’re confronted with things we need to release, habits we need to break, or areas of bondage we need to break free from. But instead of embracing the opportunities to change and grow, we hold onto them for dear life and become total brats about it to anyone who gets too close to the situation. So, If I may be bold enough to ask, what are you being a brat about right now? Are you ready to let go and move forward? It’s time! Are you ready for a little character development and personal growth to spur your activity to drive the results you desire? But maybe you’re not sure where to start? Well, stay tuned for next week…we’ll discuss how to put together your very own plan for personal growth…which will lead directly to your PERSONAL POWER!!

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