The Quest for Character

Have you ever wondered if you adequately develop your Character or show up with Character at work?  With your kids?  In your life? 

What Does Character Even Mean? 

Let's start with the definition of Character.  Webster dictionary gives us all sorts of definitions of the word, Character.

  • Attribute that distinguishes an individual
  • Mental or ethical traits that individualize a person, group or nation
  • Essential nature, strongly marked to distinguish
  • Moral excellence
  • Graphic symbol, as in an alphabet

What do you see as common elements in those five definitions of Character?  I see … DISTINGUISH.  After all, who wants to go to the movies or a watch a play or read a novel with bland characters?  Or how could you read an alphabet where all characters looked alike!?!  They must be distinguishable, each with their own sound or meaning.

The second common component in the five definitions of Character is ethical traits and moral excellence.  Character includes the MORAL ESSENCE of a person. 

Character then is the DISTINGUISHING MORAL ESSENCE of a person.  Woo HOO!  That's a challenging definition of Character, wouldn't you agree?  So what is your DISTINGUISHING MORAL ESSENCE?

Finding Character in Your Best Self

Think of 3 times in your life you showed up as your Best Self.  Write a brief description of each one at the top of 3 columns in your journal.   Finished?  Now, write the first 3 words that come to mind that describe your Best Self in each story.  There you go!  9 words that describe the distinguishing moral essence of your Best Self.  Your Character! 

Some words may overlap across stories.  EXCELLENT!  Cross-story validation!  I've boiled mine down to 3 words and remind myself of them at least once per day:  Empowered, Deep, Bold. 

But you don't have to take your own word for it.  Test your words with others!  Ask 5 people – friends, family, colleagues, trusted customers—to give you 3 words that describe your Best Self.  You might be surprised!

I did this exercise with 50 people.  First of all, this is a GREAT feel good activity if you need a pick-me-up!  The most common three words people used to describe my Best Self were:  Compassionate, Engaged and Thoughtful.  Different than my 3 words, but if that's how people experience me, I'm good with that!  By the way, my favorite response that a colleague used as their 3 words for me was:  Legendary-Jedi-Master.  Hear the buzz of my purple light saber?

Living into your character isn't ON or OFF.  It's on a continuum.  There are times you are MORE authentically living into your Character than others.  I put my 3 words in phrases on the wall over my desk:

  • How can I Live MORE Empowered Now?
  • How can I Learn MORE Deeply Now?
  • How can I Shine MORE Boldly Now?

Try it.  Put your 3 words in a question to challenge yourself to level up every day!  Live into your Character just a bit more.  Things get interesting when you challenge yourself to live MORE into your Character, your DISTINGUISHABLE MORAL ESSENCE! 

In these turbulent times, the world needs your Character!  Up for the challenge?  Go For It!

Change the World for Good!

Live 100% Empowered.  Learn Deeply.  Shine BOLDLY!


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