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Personal growth is critical for everyone because that’s where we develop our character. Our character is the person that we are and impacts those around us. It’s what carries us through life and helps us in our careers and interpersonal relationships. Our personal growth impacts everything. People spend great lengths of money, time and energy focusing on their technical skills and education, yet most people don’t even think about their character development. It’s their character that will surely make or break them. Their skills may open a door for a career or relationship, though it’s their character that will cause them to grow in that career or relationship. It’s a known fact that 90% of failures at the C-Level are due to character.
Unless you have intentionally thought through your values, actually written them down, and the order of their priority to each other, those wonderful values may become a conflict if you’re ever put into a precarious position. “What do you mean?”, you ask. Well, let’s take two or three honorable values: Honesty, Integrity and Loyalty. You ask, “How could those become a conflict with each other?” Glad you asked! What if you’re working for an employer whom you feel very loyal towards and that employer asks you to cook the books? Well, now you have a conflict between loyalty to your employer or being honest. Will you do it, thinking no one will know? You will know; your employer will know: it’s all about your internal integrity. Integrity is honesty when no one is looking. Do you see the value of thinking through your values and prioritizing them? If you’d previously prioritized your values; and integrity was higher than loyalty, you would have no issue saying no to your employer. Though if loyalty is above integrity; well, then you may be compromised!
Setting values and thinking through them is a big part of developing our character. The more we think about our character; the person we want to be and how we want to live; what our values are and what those values look like in our life–fleshed out everyday, the stronger we will become in our identity. Our character is what will ultimately determine our success – and our reputation. The degree of success we display in our life will have a ripple effect touching the lives of our family, friends, colleagues and community. What we do has a ripple effect. This is true for developing ourselves and our character. We cannot give to others what we do not have first. As we grow and change, the ripple effect will be created around us. Some of those around us may push back against our growth: they don’t want to grow and they don’t want you to grow and change either. Some will be excited to see your growth and you will inspire them to grow with you.
Growth doesn’t just happen automatically. Imagine, we have a baby. That baby just grows automatically, day by day, month by month, year by year. Before you know it, they’ve gone from a six-pound baby to a 180-pound adult in a matter of 18 years. The grass grows, it gets taller day by day. It just happens. While automatic growth is true with our physical beings and the physical world around us, it is not true for our character. Character is developed through personal growth. Your character is developed in the process of becoming your best self: reaching toward your fullest potential.
Who do you need to become to be the person who can make an impact on this world? Who do you need to become to be a person of significance to those around you; to leave a legacy? Do you have a desire to become a leader of an organization, of a nonprofit, of a family, or community committee and really make a difference in the lives around you? What can you do to be an active part in your community; to connect with your neighbors; make a difference in your workplace; your city or your country? Do you believe you could make an impact worldwide? Maybe you are already connected and striving to fulfill your potential: good for you!
Character and who we become is the responsibility of each individual. We each choose for ourselves how we want to live. That’s right, you have a choice. You are responsible for yourself regardless of what happened to you. Once you are an adult, you must choose how you respond to life and all that you’ve walked through. Think back to Michael Jackson’s lyrics in his song, Man in the Mirror:
The good character begins with intentionality. We must be intentional about our personal growth and character development or it will not happen. The natural progression of undeveloped characters is negativity, bitterness, envy, anger, and revenge. People say time heals all things. Imagine someone has an accident or someone broke their heart. You often hear someone say, “Give it time. Time heals all things.” That’s a false belief: time alone doesn’t heal all things. How many people do you know who have aged through life and as adults they are bitter, angry or resentful: or a combination of all three!? They carry these lifelong injuries with them: time did not heal them.
Think of someone you admire. Look carefully at their actions, their words. The people we admire, generally speaking, are those people who have integrity, loyalty, positive attitudes, strong work ethic, they value people and show it in their words and actions. Chances are those people you admire have worked specifically and intentionally on their personal growth. Growth is a journey – it doesn’t happen in a day or at one event. Growth may start in a day, but it develops over a period of time and continues throughout your lifetime. It requires daily effort to become better than you were yesterday. If you use intention daily to focus on being better than the day before, you will be on a strong path to growth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She is developing people-centric, value-based, compassionate servant leadership that CARES. These are the tools she teaches: Communication, Attitude, Relationships, Equipping others, and Sales.
By helping leaders who struggle with a toxic environment - unengaged employees, high absenteeism, and turnover, constantly putting out fires, and internal conflicts – transform it into a warm and welcoming environment where high trust, morale, and productivity. As a result, people look forward to coming to work.
When Candace Mae isn't developing curriculum, coaching, and training, she's practicing speaking or spending time outdoors in nature with animals, family, and 3-beautiful grandchildren in a rural setting where she lives in North County San Diego, California.
I am most excited about my Upcoming Book: “Heaven Within: Restoring Wholeness for Better Leadership.”