Spotlight: Build Character Each And Every Day

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. - Abraham Lincoln

Have you ever tried something that you really did not want to do (such as speaking in public, skydiving, or trying out a new food) because someone described the experience as “character-building”? Looking back, perhaps these experiences did indeed contribute to the person you are today. The word “character” derives from the Greek which means “I engrave”. Character is something that is “etched into” us by the experiences that we have as we go through life. Maybe, instead of making new years’ resolutions, we should do things to build our character each day.

10 Ways to Build Your Character Each and Every Day

Be known as a promise-keeper
Do what you say you will do.  No matter how small the promise is, no matter to whom the promise is made, strive to keep your word.  If events prevent you from honoring the commitment you made, get back to people to let them know why you cannot fulfill your promise.  Resolve to handle your word as precious currency and watch how your value rises in everyone’s eyes.

Be consistent in your dealings with others
Do you treat some people better than you treat others? For example, do you unwittingly complain about a member of your team to other team members? While we can easily slip into such behavior, especially when we are tired and frustrated by the day’s events, consider that this chips away at your integrity and character.

Audit your decisions
At the end of every week, get in the habit of going over the decisions you made.  Are you proud?  Do your actions reflect positively on you as a person of character?  What could you have done better?  Every action we take, no matter how small, has our character stamp on it.

Engage in tough conversations with empathy
The easy thing is to sidestep the tough conversation. Take a deep breath and determine how to engage in meaningful conversation that makes a difference in what we say and what happens next. Our character will be stronger if we interact with empathy.

Nurture meaningful relationships through good and challenging times They almost become disposable. Relationships that are damaging physically or psychologically are different. In those, safely leaving is the first step, and these times take strong character as well. Absent the damaging relationships, we need to try hard to make them work. Whether in our homes, neighborhoods, or workplaces, we need to nurture our relationships and find better paths forward.

Exhibit humility in achievement and success
Be humble in all you say and do. Humility is not permission to be run over.  Quite the opposite.  Humility is knowing we are stronger together than apart. Humility is giving all we have and doing it again.

Be nice when everything tempts you not to be nice
A quiet strength of character exists in being humble and nice. Build this character strength. Being nice does not mean low expectations. Too often, we want to play to the crowd and say outrageous things to incite or fit into one. Instead, we need to stand out by saying and doing things that are helpful.

Always get up, no matter what, to create something better than the day before
We will get knocked down and stepped on. Two things to remember. First, there is an old political adage that says, “What goes around, comes around.” If someone is stepping on us, holding us back, or ignoring us, nature has a way of dealing with this, so focus on what you can do and do so with a strong sense of character. Second, keep getting up and creating what you are meant to do. After all, this is the only way your purpose will take root.

Do the work
Laziness achieves nothing. Whatever your purpose, you need to do the work. When you do, character will show its strength in purpose.

No task is too small, and no person is too ordinary or extraordinary to extend a hand and help
Never think or do things that make others feel small. Always pitch in no matter the task. Our hands are meant to be extended in a helpful way; it is why we have arms and elbows! We are designed to do the work, hug each other, and extend a helpful hand.

How each of us builds character may differ. The most important thing is to understand what builds character and then do those things as often as you can. If you want to build a sustainable personal brand, focus on your personal character early and often.


It’s Your Yale
The power of character (Yale Leadership Expectation: Demonstrate integrity & character)
Character in the workplace has powerfully positive ripple effects

LinkedIn Learning