Where Leaders Come to Think

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Why Character Matters


Perhaps you are looking at your life and wondering if the saying, “nice guys finish last” is really true? Chances are at some point or another you had decisions to make that had large implications to your life. It’s in those times when we realize that character matters.

February 13, 1793 George Washington, was reelected a President of the United States. He was a quiet leader that led from the front. This continued into his second term; however, things were different. The French Revolution and the eventual war between Britain and France made leadership very difficult.

There were open debates about whom we should support. Everyone seemed to be taking their messages to the streets and demanded that the United States get involved.

President Washington refused. The politicians had a field day at the expense of Washington’s character.

Despite early ringing endorsements for his leadership.

We cannot, Sir, do without you. – Thomas Jefferson

The political machine of his day was in full grind. Washington understood that the reality was; he had lost his ability to lead the entire country well. The nation was swallowed up by partisan politics. Jefferson and Hamilton polarized every issue.

Despite calls for a third term, at age 64 in 1796 Washington stepped down as President denying a third term and making a clear statement that the United States does not need a lifetime monarch.

This was the largest release of power ever witnessed in the world.

I believe it demonstrates why character matters.

Being rooted in your values will offer you best chance to take advantage of your personal “Washington-like” moments in life. Almost every leader will have an opportunity to stand on principle and make a difference.

This begs us to consider the question, “is your character up to the test?”

Building  “Washington-Like” Values Begins Here:gw

  • Search For Broken Places. Look at the major areas of your life. Consider where you’re weak and identify any shortcuts you have taken.
  • Seek Out Negative Habits. Does any brokenness remain? Identifying negative habits can help you diagnose character flaws and change.
  • Deal With The Hard Truths. Character restoration begins when you face your flaws and repair what you may have broken. Apologize to those whom you’ve hurt.
  • Stay Teachable & Rebuild. Once you face your past, create a plan that will help to spur inward growth and character development. Often times this starts with a commitment to being intentional about developing your character.

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.” – George Washington

What would you have done in President Washington’s shoes? Do you feel like your established enough in your values to step away and allow others to grow beyond your leadership? The answers to these questions can be revealing. The correct answers to these questions – can literally change the world.

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