When we are younger, we are usually more concerned with our outward appearances. We want to be the prettiest girl in school or the most handsome guy in town. When we are younger, we probably have not taken the time to explore who we are on the inside, so this becomes our “go-to” when we are trying to make an impression.
The problem is, there are some of us who spend our entire lives putting on this façade on the outside and trying to impress people with our looks, our fancy car, our big house or our important sounding job title. We are forgetting to work on what is inside of us. Stop for just a moment and think of some of the most amazing people you know, people who have personally influenced your life. I am not talking about your celebrity obsession, but someone who you can say has made a difference in your life. Once you have identified that person, write down five words to describe them. Are any of them physical characteristics? It’s unlikely that any of the words you used to describe them have anything to do with their outside, but rather who they are on the inside.
Now, I want you to look at yourself. Are you matching who you are trying to be on the outside with your authentic self? I’m working through John Maxwell’s book, ‘The 15 Laws of Growth’ right now and learning a lot about character. He notes something Norman Schwarzkopf said, “Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character.” Open the newspaper, or turn on the news and you will find this to be true. John further notes that if we neglect our hearts, our minds, or our souls that it changes who we are on the outside as well.
Are you working on your character? If you are not, you need to start today! Do you want your failure of character to be your demise as a leader? Start searching within yourself. Which character values are most important to you? Are you living these values out on the inside or are you pretending to possess them on the outside? It is crucial for us to make sure we are matching up what is on the inside with what is on the outside, or it will eventually catch up to us! Character matters!