Hopefully, you’ve completed the exercise we talked about in our last blog, and have written down five qualities that you would like to define your character.
This week we want to help you make that desire a reality.
To start, rate yourself from 1-10 on the following question:
How well are you living out the character qualities that you want in your life, especially when the pressure is on?
After you’ve done this, select five people to get feedback from. I suggest that three of them be someone who knows you really well, someone who has probably known you for a long time and has seen you in a wide variety of environments and circumstances. For the remaining two, select someone who doesn’t know you as well–perhaps an acquaintance or someone you’ve met recently. Selecting the right people to help you here is important. This isn’t a survey you’ll want to post on Facebook!
Ask each of these five individuals to give you three to five qualities they would use to describe you. You should tell them that it is super important to you that they are honest in their feedback. Not everyone is willing to give this sort of feedback. If you know they can’t, they don’t belong on your list for this exercise. Give more weight to the individuals who know you best, but don’t neglect the other two. Their responses can help you understand what kind of first impression you’re making and how you come across to people other than close friends and family.
Once you’ve gotten the feedback, it’s time to take it to the next step. Get out the list of five traits that you desire as character attributes. Ask them which of those traits are currently your weakest. If you notice a trend, you’ll know which of your desired traits you’ll need to work on the most.
The purpose of this exercise isn’t to label you according to others perceptions. Instead, it gives us a reflection to be able to compare how we see ourselves to how others view us, and often there is a stark contrast between the two! Years ago, when I started hearing that I was intimidating and unapproachable, I would protest and insist that I wasn’t. That was simply self-deception and lack of awareness! Getting this feedback will help you avoid that trap.
We want to establish alignment in our character, between the traits we desire and the ones that we are known for. A lack of character alignment will cause friction and wear in your relationships just as a lack alignment of your car will cause friction and wear on your tires.
Getting feedback from others lets us know what adjustments need to be made to establish character alignment. (To hear a story from my own life about a grim lesson on the consequences of ignoring feedback, watch the video at the top of this post.)
We’ll discuss making those adjustments next week in Character, Part 3.