Choose Character Over Competency.
Skills are important. It's true. Knowing a skill, a trade, or a talent is really important to getting a good job and living a fulfilling life.
But it's not the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
You can be the most skilled athlete/pastor/CEO/tradesman/teacher/cook and come to the end of your career or life and have failed.
Too drastic? I'm not so sure.
Here's some truth:
- People will remember how you ended, not how you started. It doesn't matter how great or how fast you started or built something. If you don't end well, it's like a musician playing the song perfectly but botching the last note - it taints the memory of everything that came before it. How many leaders, whether it be politicians, pastors, executives, do we see crash before the finish line? And many time they crash because they had a deep well of competency, and were bankrupt when it came to character.
- People will remember how you treated them more than what you accomplished. You can build a whole empire or a great product or a successful organization, but if you burn every relationship bridge on your way to the top - that is what people will remember. Think of Steve Jobs. He is remembered as a great mind who was a real jerk to people. It didn't take away from him accomplishing some great things, but it scars his legacy as a human. When we treat humans like cogs in a machine or rungs on a ladder, that is what your legacy will be.
- Great leaders succeed first and foremost with - their families. Think about your most inspiring role models in life. More often than not, you'll find that they have really strong families. Because they have prioritized their spouses, children, parents, and siblings over their careers. Our greatest calling in life (after our relationship with God) is to focus our time and love on our families. As Dale Partridge puts it, "A strong business with a weak family doesn't work." Family comes first.
In order to be the leader and world-changer who God is calling you to be, you have to focus first and foremost on your character. Who you really are. Build deep wells to keep you connected to God and your loved ones. Build habits that enrich your life and keep you learning. Build walls to guard you from temptations.
Skill is important - absolutely it is. But it means nothing if your character tank is empty.
Take some time this week and evaluate yourself. How is your character? Do you have strong habits and safe-guards in place? Are you the same person to everyone you spend time with?
If not, get working on it. Get an accountability partner. Add safe-guards. Delete temptations.
Craig Groeschel, when talking about the safe-guards in his life, put it this way: "It's not that I'm that weak. It's that I'm that wise."
No one ever failed from having too much character.
Competency may get you into the race, but character will see you through the finish line.
This week, choose character over competency. The world, and your family, will be better off for it.