As we began a session, my client – let’s call him Dan – produced a quote he’d seen:
‘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.’ John Wooden
‘Ever since I saw this, it’s been on my mind. I feel like I’ve spent so much time concentrating on building my reputation that I’ve stopped working on who I am as an individual,’ said Dan.
We started by quickly checking the definition of ‘character’ – ‘the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual’.
With that in mind, I asked Dan to list what he considered to be his best mental and moral qualities. He came up with the following:
- Inquiring mind
- Get stuff done
I asked him if there were any aspects of his character he felt he needed a little work.
‘That’s just it, I’m not really sure,’ he responded.
‘What do you think your colleagues might say? What about your girlfriend? Your best mate?’ I asked.
‘Do you know what? I’m going to ask them. I’m going to ask five people what I should work on, pick out a common theme and I’m going to focus on that.’
Sure enough, he did. Over the next week, he talked to his girlfriend, his boss, a close friend and two of his peers. The theme which emerged was collaboration – he was great at having an idea, running with it and bringing it to completion but they felt he wasn’t so good at taking other people along with him. He drafted a plan of action to tackle this and emailed it to me so I could help him stay accountable. He plans to check in with the same five people in three months to see how he’s doing.
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: is there a character trait you’d like to work on? What steps will you take to do so?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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