“No one is going to get hurt.”
In a nutshell: “Your character is who you are when no one is watching.” We can all justify our choices by saying others won’t get hurt. But we all know there can be collateral damage to others when a leader makes a poor, private choice.
However, I want to focus on the character implications of these private battles we face. The definition of character I use is: Character is our habitual way of operating. In other words, HOW I AM IS WHO I AM.
Therefore, WHO I AM is formed with or without witnesses. WHO I AM is formed through both my public and my private habits.
- Do I spend time on Facebook during work hours?
- Do I watch this movie alone in my hotel room?
- Do I stop by the mall when I am supposed to be seeing customers?
When I choose to cheat my company by scanning Facebook or any non-business related site during work hours, it is a private decision. When I watch an X rated movie alone in my hotel room, no one will know. If I stop by the mall to get a gift for my wife, it is a family matter.
To read more about how we form Habits of Character click on the blog title below:
You may be like me. When I WANT to do something, I can find all sorts of ways to justify why I should or shouldn’t do it. The saddest excuse I use is, “No one is going to get hurt.” When I get into that mode of thinking, I am probably at my most selfish and short sighted. That one decision may not be significant in and of itself. But, what it does to my character is huge.
A test is a test – whether it is in public or private.
It does not matter if I believe no one will get hurt. It does not matter if my choice is a private choice that “is nobody’s business”. What does matter is that every choice I make is forming a habit.
The particular decision in question may not ever be exposed to the light of scrutiny, but it will effect future decisions I make. All of my decisions, no matter what type of exposure they get, play a part in forming my character.
The Bottom Line:
The best way develop into a Leader of Character is to begin by choosing to do the right thing. With each choice I make, I am forming a habit. My choice today influences whether that habit is positive or negative as I move forward.
The number of witnesses does not determine the importance of a decision in regard to its impact on my character. I can justify a lot of my bad private habits with the statement, “No one is going to get hurt.” The private nature of that one decision is not the point. The likelihood of that decision impacting others is not the point.
The point is, what is that choice doing to my character? My character does impact others. My character is the #1 factor in determining my ability to lead at work or at home.
Our private tests of character may do more to form our character than any test we encounter. I can’t let the presence of witnesses determine my actions.
I am my witness, and God is my witness.
We are the only two people who truly know what my character is.
P.S. Habits of Character: Courage, Humility, Integrity, Selflessness, Duty and Positivity will be the subject of leadership book my father, General Jim Anderson, and I will be publishing later in 2016. Stay tuned for more updates.
What private tests of your character will you encounter this week?