Your Character Matters More than Your Success
This post is not a, “How to,” it’s a, “How to Be.” What’s happening inside of you, your character, is more important than anything else you can pursue. Success doesn’t matter if you put your character on the back burner. The news is filled with stories of leaders who have ‘gained the world’ but have failed miserably in that department.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Many people on the internet are looking for legitimate ways to “change their lives,” and that’s a noble pursuit. What do you typically see? People writing about, “How to Make More Money,” “How to Build Bigger Email Lists,” or “How to Have the Job of Your Dreams as a Writer,” etc.
I’m not at all criticizing those programs. There are many great ones out there. But they are missing something very critical to a successful life and it’s this: It’s not what you do, or what you accumulate that matters, It’s who you are becoming.
It doesn’t matter if I have all of the money and influence in the world if I’m not living for the things that matter most to me. If I’m not becoming a better person, a better father, a better husband and more inspirational leader, my pursuits will eventually turn up empty. I’ve failed in these areas before in my life and it was painful.
The Internal vs. the External
As I’ve coached a number of CEO’s over the years, many find themselves internally bankrupt. They’ve achieved high levels of success but when they climbed to the top, there was nothing there. They lived their lives for EXTERNAL things (money, fame, power, control) and did little to focus on the INTERNAL things, (purpose, meaning, values, vision). It’s a common mistake on the road to success.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Please listen carefully to me, the way to achieve REAL success in life, is to spend serious time building your character and crafting what’s on the inside.
An externally driven person focuses on ego and the things that need to be acquired to satiate their ego. It’s all about what they can do to get their needs met. Whether they like it or not, these leaders often see others as a means to an end.
How to Build Character
An internally driven person is about purpose and character. IT’S NOT ABOUT PERFECTION. People who are internally directed begin to transcend their egos. They realize that there are real levels of hypocrisy in their lives that need to be dealt with and they start the process of closing those gaps. As this happens, their internal and external realities become more aligned and their values and behavior are more consistent.
Let’s be honest. Life can be extremely difficult and confusing at times. There is much brokenness and disappointment. In the words of Leonard Cohen, “Love (and life) is not a victory march but a cold and broken Hallelujah.”
So what do we do? We focus on improving the most important things in our lives, our character, our values and our internal purpose. This is how truly successful people spend their time. It’s how you win in life. This is also why I developed the LeadersElevate Transformation Process I take clients through and why I started Your Positivity Coach. It’s internally driven and character building. When you focus on those issues, the level of everything you care about is elevated.
True leadership is strengthening what’s on the inside. Until my book is finished (shameless smiley face), an incredible resource you can read on this subject is, “Building the Bridge as You Walk on It,” by Robert Quinn. And as always, if I can help you, you know where to find me.
With great love and respect,
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Seth Barnes says
Character is the foundation for all leadership development. How we treat others. How we follow thru on our promises. What we say we believe and what we do. It’s all foundational.
Neil Bruinsma says
I wonder why so many people go their lives living for the external and never slow down to focus on the inward?