4 Ways To Invest In Your Character
Have you ever tried to build a bonfire?
I have and this is usually how it goes for me:
Step 1: Grab small sticks and paper.
Step 2: Attempt to light items from Step 1 in a pit of some sort. Produce small flame.
Step 3: Flame from Step 2 burns out.
Step 4: Repeat Steps 1-3 ten to twenty times.
Step 5: Add big pieces of wood. And lighter fluid.
Step 6: Produce big flame. Continue to supply lighter fluid until flame is sustainable.
But I am pretty sure that is not how it is supposed to work...or at least that's what the YouTube videos tell me.
What I do know is that in order to keep a legitimate fire burning, one has to consistently add wood, paper, and sticks (i.e. fuel) to the fire.
I believe our character (definition: who we truly are) is alot like a fire.
Last week I published an article on choosing character over competency. You can read the full post here, but the summary of it is this: in life, your character is 10x more important than your skill set and abilities. I broke down why character is so important.
And this week our discussion centers on how you can invest in your character, like adding fuel (wood or lighter fluid - take your pick) to a fire.
Here are 4 Ways To Invest In Your Character:
- Podcasts and Books: One great way to grow your character is to learn from others and you can do that through the audio format of podcasts or through physical (or digital) books. Choose topics focused on character development, how to lead, and to become a better person in general. Topics could range from wisdom on relationships, habits and addictions to biographies, religious discussions, and self-improvement.
- Life Transformation Groups: Invite a few people into your life to go deep with. While groups of friends (such as small groups or book clubs) are always beneficial to have in your life - I believe you also need something more. Find one or two people of the gender as you to go extremely deep with. Like open about everything deep. Read large chunks of the Bible together. Pray for others. Pray for yourselves. Confess sin. Laugh. Cry. I am involved in one such group which we call a Life Transformation Group (the name is taken from some of the material we use to structure our group). This group can help you through hard times, slap you when you're being stupid, hold you accountable, and celebrate your victories.
- Start here: Read this article by Neil Cole on Life Transformation Groups (LTGs) and research other structures for LTGs. Then, start one if you are not already involved in a super small, close group like a LTG.
- Counseling: I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on the Internet), but I believe in the wisdom that everyone needs counseling at some point in their life. If you are struggling with something that is keeping you from leading, living a joy-filled life, or connecting with those you love - consider finding a reputable counselor to spend some time with. Because, sometimes, we could really use an objective, unbiased ear to listen to us.
- Start here: Take a look at your soul. Are you broken? (We all have been or will be there!) Commit to 3 sessions with a counselor and see the difference that can be made.
- Volunteer: One of the best ways to develop yourself is to invest in others! Find a reputable, inspiring organization that has a mission that you get stoked about and volunteer with them! From food banks and schools to community centers and prison ministries, do research on local non-profits and organizations and find one that get's you excited. Aim to volunteer with that organization on a consistent basis and invest in the lives of the people you interact with.
- Start here: Volunteer 10 hours over the next month. Do it. It will be good for your heart and humility.
An exhaustive list? Not by a long shot. But these 4 ways are actionable steps you can take in the next month to begin to grow your character and mature as a human. Pick one and get started.
Your fire needs to be fed - make sure you provide it with quality fuel.
Your character will make or break you. And if you continually invest in it, you will deepen and mature as a person and develop into someone who finishes well in this journey we call life.
Your fire is burning.
Get chopping wood.