From the Oval Office to the corporate boardroom, the same question is being asked, “Does character really matter?” Where should the line be drawn between one’s personal and professional life? Should we care about character if job performance is not affected?
Ethical dilemmas come in all shapes and sizes. Asking a secretary to lie about the boss’s whereabouts, expense reports, and schedules; running personal errands on the job; removing or destroying damaging documents; preparing documents with misleading information; taking credit for someone else’s work; Iying to customers; asking or being asked for sexual favors. You will have your character tested by moral and ethical dilemmas on the job. You will be pushed to the limit sometime or another.
Your character is that person inside you that others may not see. It is who you really are when no one is looking. Your character is who you are and is refined by what you do.
Your character is shaped and molded by your everyday choices. Thoughts, words, actions, and habits are all pieces building upon each other. So, watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Your character can be an anchor in stormy seas; always be ready for a test. You can’t go back to shore and get the anchor as a storm approaches. I keep your character anchor ready by constantly watching the moral and ethical choices you make everyday.
The list of long-term benefits of keeping your character strong far outweighs losing it for short-term pleasure. Consider these four benefits of keeping your character:
1. Peace of Mind: Milton said, “The mind is its own place. And of itself can make a Hell of Heaven, or a Heaven of Hell.” No material reward is worth losing peace of mind. Even when you do something that doesn’t affect another human being you still have to wake up in the morning and face the person in the mirror. Just having peace of mind can be its own reward.
2. Pride: Being able to resist temptation and winning the character battles give you a sense of pride. Part of feeling proud of your accomplishments is being able to look back in reflection and see a job well done.
3. Reputation: Many people spend their entire lives building a reputation. A good reputation is like gold. If not guarded closely, it can easily be snatched away in an instant.
4. Trust: How many times do you have to say, “I’m sorry,” to rebuild trust after it’s been broken? Sometimes it can never suffice because of the deep feelings of brokenness associated with it.
A life void of character is not worth much. In the long run, a person of character has much more to gain than a person without. People tend to remain loyal to the employer who has treated them fairly, and has consistently acted with integrity. That employer will keep good people loyal even when times are tough.
Becoming a person of character is a lifelong process of choices. Choose one area and strive to make sound, ethical decisions even when nobody is around to throw you a party. You’ll find that peace of mind, respect, pride, reputation, and trust will naturally follow.
Bringing the character issue to the forefront of the political arena over the past few years has forced us to answer the question, “Does character matter?” at a time when we need it the most.