How will your actions speak today?

“Choose as a guide one whom you will admire more when you see him act than when you hear him speak.”

Seneca

If you couldn’t speak for a week, how could you communicate your character and core values through actions alone? What if that week turned into a month? A lifetime?  

If you want to challenge yourself, try this exercise every day for a week or a month. You will be amazed at what you learn.

  1. Grab a pen and paper.  Write down one word that is core to everything you believe about life and how you want to show up that day.  (You can, and should, do this many times, so don’t worry about finding the perfect word. Just go with the first one that comes to mind)
  2. Set a timer for five minutes and brainstorm three key behaviors you can actively demonstrate TODAY that bring your word to life through action, without any spoken communication.
  3. Pick ONE!  Circle it on our page. Commit it to memory and then commit to accomplishing that action TODAY.
  4. Then do it.  If it is something that you can demonstrate multiple times throughout the day, then do it over and over again.  
  5. At the end of your day, score yourself on your ability to put into action what you hold as foundationally right without using a single word. Use a simple zero to 10 scale and write your score on the paper from the morning.  
  6. Do the exercise over again the next day. It can be the identical word using the same behaviors or new ones. The key is to commit to demonstrating through action what you believe. No talking is allowed.  
  7. Track your scores over time to measure your progress and gauge your effectiveness at delivering what you believe through actions.  

The point is to let your actions do your talking for you and intentionally choose your behaviors based on your core principles and commit to bringing them to life through your efforts. If you can remove the barrier of speech, you will truly begin to communicate… 

How is your character being displayed today?

“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them.”

Malcolm S. Forbes

Perhaps equally telling about someone’s character is when a person expects to be treated differently because of their rank, position, or title.

Character is demonstrated by both outward behaviors and implied expectations.

How was your character displayed today?

Chasing versus doing…

“Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.”

William Arthur Ward

The first list is of things that many people spend their entire lives pursuing. These things, while nice, don’t fill the heart and soul with happiness. In fact, if that is all a person has, I can’t imagine a much emptier life.

The second list is how a person chooses to live. This list might never lead to any of the things in the first list but to me this represents a life worth living. This is a life worth pursuing. This is a life that when you reach the end, one can look back and say, “I lived well.”

You can spend your entire life chasing things. Or you can spend your life doing things. Things that truly matter. It’s your choice, choose wisely…

Can vs. Should…

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

Stephen R. Covey

How do you ensure that you help others see the opportunities in themselves they might not recognize? How can you apply this same sentiment to yourself?

It is interesting to think through the different meaning expressed by “can be” and “should be.” “Can be” conveys to me aspirational or opportunistic growth while “should be” conveys an awareness of better choices that haven’t been made by the person. I “should” do something has a very different meaning than I “can” do something.

To turn either perspective into reality you must first see the opportunity, and then take clear and decisive actions. Helping others see their own possibilities requires intentionality on your part. Whom do you want to help grow? How are you going to treat them differently starting today?

Who helps you to “see” clearly?

“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.”

Lao-Tze

Have you ever found that the things you don’t want to do, or the type of person that you don’t want to become, can happen without your even realizing it?  That a small thing can become a larger thing and before you know what has happened your thoughts become your words, and your words become actions you never intended.  The good news is that you can fix this by addressing the root source, the thoughts that are driving everything else.  

I unfortunately have made plenty of mistakes in this arena through life (and continue to do so).  Fortunately I have had the rich blessing of great friends and confidants to help address some of my mistakes and challenges before they become tremendous character flaws.  They have helped me reframe my thinking and realize that I the lens through which I have been viewing the world is distorted.  The value of people who will help you see those things that you  can’t is immeasurable.  Who is helping you see the things you can’t, or won’t, see without outside perspective?  

 

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dusty

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