Life Lesson #4 : Reputation vs. Character
For a period of time I lived up to a reputation my parents defined for me. Of course, two first generation immigrants to Canada, who came from a poor country, saw their highest achievements came with obedient children who strove to achieve what looked like success in their eyes - a steady, well paying job, security to pay bills on time, a home, a car and money to go on yearly vacations. Because in their world, that never existed. At the time, it seemed like a very simple step-by-step process to follow to achieve the end all result of success they so wanted to see in me.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” - Dale Carnegie
Two years ago, I struggled when I was voted #1 leader of a women leadership conference, and I couldn’t quite understand why I couldn’t accept the ranking whole heartedly. Deep in my heart, I felt almost like a fraud, knowing that I can show everyone what a good leader looks, acts, and speaks like, but I myself did not feel that in my core. I sure fooled them I thought, but ok, this doesn’t feel right.
I saw that I was operating my drive for success by filling the ‘reputation’ box, where what I did was driven by if it made me look reputable and was worth admiring, but what I was missing was the belief in my character that I could actually be it. I never looked at the qualities I had to possess in order to be it.
Well, our character is the core to who we really are. Our character is what we choose to do in the midst of adversity, do we fight or fly, do we say YES or do we say I DON’T KNOW, do we STAY or do we GO? Our character is the hard true facts about everything that we are, our weakness and our strengths and how we deal with them…today.
Building my character is a constant choice every moment of the day. By building my sense of character, I’ve gained confidence in myself, commitment to my relationships, created a daily practice of acceptance and gratitude, and a nurturing attitude towards my mastery, no matter what people say, because this is how I’ve understood myself to be. This is what automatically builds a reputation of someone who possess all the characteristics of success. This is Authentic Success.
We know that success is not a destination, it is the journey. In the end, wouldn’t you want to be Full of Life instead of just fulfilling life?
Where in your life do you feel you’re just fulfilling life to feed your reputation instead of building your character to live full of life in what ever you do?
Define the box that YOU are filling.