Friday, September 02, 2016

Why Character Matters

A while back I was interviewed for a position as a trading coach and asked by a group of people attending the meeting to talk about myself.  I told them that I had spent a very long weekend adopting our latest cat and finding rescue organizations worthy of our donations.  I explained that Margie and I had adopted many cats during our 30+ years of marriage, that we had adopted two children, and that I routinely "adopt" the people I work with as a psychologist and the students I teach by making my personal phone available to them 24/7 and by becoming part of their extended family.  

If I were interviewing for a position right this moment, I'd talk about getting home from a vacation to Portsmouth, NH and having our youngest cat curl up with me in bed during the night, bringing me the toy mouse that she bonded with when she was sheltered as a semi-feral kitten.  Creating and sustaining bonds: that's what it's all about.

And in that interview, I'd talk about curiosity and learning about the world through reading, writing, and travel.  I'd speak about how every development in my work, from what I do as a psychologist to what I write about in blog posts or books, is an expression of what I've learned and what has excited me.

At the end of the day, the work we undertake and the relationships we build are expressions of our character.  Our deepest motivations, values, and strengths define what we do and how we do it.  If there's one piece of advice I can give, it's to make your character visible in all you do.  Be who you truly are.  That's what will attract the right people and opportunities to you, and that's what will allow you to look in a mirror and proudly see your self, not just yourself.  

Every day, we add a few paint strokes to our life's work.  

Let's make a masterpiece.

Further Reading:  The Power of Servant Leadership