1 - Be True to Character

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Be True to Character

A Month Ago I Was Still Eating Sugar!

Gandhi is a shining example of truth to character.

A story is told where a mother once brought her child to Gandhi and asked him to tell the young boy to stop eating sugar because it was not good for his diet or his developing teeth.

Gandhi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a month.”

Gandhi-sugarThe mother was upset as Gandhi moved on. She had traveled some distance and had expected the mighty leader to support her parenting. Having little recourse, she left for her home. One month later she returned, not knowing what to expect. Gandhi took the small child’s hands into his own, knelt before him, and tenderly said, “Do not eat sugar, my child. It is not good for you.” Then Gandhi embraced the boy.

The perplexed mother asked why he hadn’t said that a month ago.

“Well,” said Gandhi, “a month ago, I was still eating sugar.” What an example of integrity!

Gandhi’s authority came from a power within; he established a moral authority by his actions. He aligned and centered his life with powerful, correct principles, and his leadership ultimately led to the independence of an entire nation through peaceful means.

In business, the impact of being true to character can improve the bottom line, employee and customer satisfaction, and overall productivity.

At home, being true to character can foster a stronger family and healthier relationships.

Weekly Action


1. Start a “Thoughts Book” or journal. One of the common habits of influential people throughout history is they took notes and recorded their thoughts. This will be a journal you can use to record thoughts, ideas, and feelings. I suggest you put your name and phone number on the inside with a reward offering in case it ever gets lost.

2. Either individually or as a team, choose one way in which you can be more “true to character” this week. In your thoughts book, determine specifically what you can do this week to improve your character. For example, be 100% honest in all I do, be an example of what I teach, or send an email to my team discussing the power of character.

3. Read pages 3 – 17 in Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders to unlock additional ideas on how to be more true to character.

The Value of Character

I have a friend who works with diamonds and I was intrigued to find out how they are formed.

At first, the raw materials of these substances are brittle or soft. But when heated and placed under intense pressure, the molecules change; the end result is a material that is among the strongest known to man.

diamondCharacter is much the same way. As your integrity, honesty, and respect for others is tested and tried under pressure, your moral fabric is developed.

The end result is character you can count on. This character establishes a moral authority within you that gives you great power and credibility.

How to be True to Character

Throughout life, you’ll likely have daily reasons to be reminded of the advice “to thine own self be true.” And you’re just as likely to have daily opportunities to answer the critical question, Will I be true to character?

When the waters are calm, it’s easier to respond, I will! But what about those times when things heat up and you’re under blistering stress? Those moments put your character to the test.

  • How will you respond when you are mistreated, accused, bad-mouthed, hurt, or misunderstood?
  • How will you respond when there is the opportunity to take advantage of another, especially if no one would ever know?
  • How will you respond in situations when you have authority or position over others? Will you maintain your character, or will you violate integrity and honesty, abandon respect for others, and fail to align with correct principles?
  • Will you tell the whole truth or just a partial truth? Remember, if it’s not the whole truth, it’s not the truth.

As you are true to character you will experience satisfaction and joy over time.

Weekly Action

1. Determine this week to be honest in every way, 100% of the time. Make the resolve to tell the whole truth and not half truths.

2. Read pages 3 – 17 in Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders to unlock additional ideas on how to be more true to character.

I wish you a wonderful week as you continue to work on Being True to Character!

Stand Up for What is Right

Your character counts!

Character can be defined as how you act when no one is looking. Do you do things in private that would be unacceptable to do around your co-workers or family?

Every choice you make–even the small ones–will either strengthen or weaken your character. Choose now to strengthen your character by being honest, fair, courageous, and responsible.

The choice is yours; will you forget your character or be true to it?

How one individual’s character shaped U.S. sports history!

Jackie Robinson made his choice to be true to character. He chose to cross the “baseball color line” and play professional baseball for the Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play Major League Baseball.

jackie-robinsonHe courageously ignored critics and did what was right. Because of his choice to play baseball, he ended eighty years of baseball segregation and changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement. It was not an easy decision!

Later, as the Dodgers traveled, Jackie Robinson was ridiculed and insulted. Racial slurs and phrases, like “go back to the cotton fields” were often yelled from the dugouts. He faced obstacles from the fans, managers, and other players; but he persevered.

Jackie Robinson was true to character. He made the right choices and took the high road, even though it was hard.


Your character is determined by being trustworthy, respectful, and responsible! Never deceive, cheat, or steal. Have the courage stand up for and do the right thing. Treat others with respect and respond peacefully to anger, insults, and disagreements. Be self-disciplined and do what you are supposed to do. Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitude.

Weekly Action

1. Use a thoughts book. If you already have one, be sure you are using it frequently. Use it to capture your thoughts, inspiration, and ideas. Carry your thoughts book with you, so you can write your ideas and inspiration when they come.

2. Make progress in an area of improvement in your life. Draw a vertical line down the middle of a paper. On the left, write your strengths as they relate to character. On the right, write your areas of improvement, as they relates to character. After looking at your strengths and areas of improvement, choose one area to focus on this week that you would like to improve. Choose a friend or co-worker as an accountability partner and report back to them in one week.

3. E-mail us and tell us specifically how you’re applying this principle this week. Respondents will be entered into a drawing to win a 30 minute FREE coaching session at the end of the quarter.

Your life will impact others because of your character. Keep strengthening it!

Is Integrity Worth 25¢?

The world is in great need of people of character! Thirty years ago, a person I know said:

newspapersWhile working in the corporate world, some business associates and I were passing through O-Hare Airport in Chicago. One of these men had just sold his company for tens of millions of dollars and was not poor.

As we were passing a newspaper vending machine, this individual put a quarter in the machine, opened the door to the stack of papers inside the machine, and began dispensing unpaid-for newspapers to each of us.

When he handed me a newspaper, I put a quarter in the machine and, trying not to offend but to make a point, jokingly said, ‘Jim, for 25 cents I can maintain my integrity. A dollar, questionable, but 25 cents–no, not for 25 cents!’

Your character cannot be limited to the size or the amount. The principle of honesty and integrity is constant whether it involves a penny or millions of dollars.

Being True to Character means your actions reflect your beliefs, and that your beliefs are based on correct principles–such as integrity, honesty, respect, and reliability. By choosing ethics over convenience, truth over popularity, and right over wrong you can achieve greatness for years to come and be an influence for good!

Weekly Action

1. As a group, discuss some ideas to improve the culture and character of your team and organization. For example, if someone witnesses a violation of this principle, how do they report it? Or, is everyone clear on the policies in your organization related to sexual harassment, lying, discrimination, etc.? If not, how can you improve that?

2. On a piece of paper, write something you will start doing personally to more fully live the principle Be True to Character.

3. Read pages 3 – 17 in Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders to unlock additional ideas on how to be more true to character.


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