My favorite blogger, Seth Godin, said recently that “Attitude follows action far more often than action follows attitude.” So, today, I’m writing about the people I admire most in an effort to improve my attitude and myself. I want to share distilled character traits of those passed and present hoping this action might help me to be more like them.
- My mom and dad – Mom for her gentle compassionate nature, Dad for his insatiable curiosity and pursuit of excellence
- My brother’s wife, whose quiet strength I always admired but then particularly during the eleven years she was paralyzed by cancer yet entirely active in her business and her family.
- My brother and many other friends who are breaking the chains of addiction
- My billionaire friend who seems unaffected by his wealth and shares with substance and grace
- My social worker friend who is paid on the level of a restaurant worker and yet works with focus to share his journey back from the abyss with patience and a bit of humor
- A sister friend who has experienced five years of devastating health issues while doubling our school’s registration by continuing to build a loving, faith-based education community.
- Another sister friend who is thirty years into building a substantial organization serving homeless mothers and now leading a strategy to extend the legacy of service for her order
- My priest friend who passed over 16 years ago who taught me that people who give with intensity and judgment should not bother giving.
- Several thousand entrepreneurs I’ve presented to at Vistage meetings around the country since 2015 because of their thirst for learning and dedication to their employees, families and socially conscious businesses.
- The hundreds of borrowers who have been turned down by banks but been funded by organizations we serve. Thousands more expressed interest in owning a business but were either unable or unwilling to accommodate the disciplines of planning, learning, and adjusting. All have sacrificed to take the road less travelled.
- The meek and voiceless I meet cleaning public places, serving the elderly and dying, bussing our kids, and bringing food from farm to table. I especially admire the ones who smile back when I thank them.
- Our first intern who in 2007 insisted he would live well AND promote self-discipline and joy among young poor by sharing his love for Hip-Hop and now has his own very successful studio
- My daughter who is showing me what real strength is after losing a husband and most of her business’ contracts, then spending 15 months of isolation from her family and friends followed by major surgery. The woman “takes a licking and keeps on ticking”.
I hope the action of writing about these strong characters will remind me in difficult moments to imitate their best traits. I notice the common elements of my list are compassion, courage and resilience. May I become them all.
Take a few minutes today to write a list of people you admire most, and the character traits you admire them for. Then consider how writing that list might change your attitude by drawing on their strengths in your most challenging moments. The worst that can happen is thinking on people you love. Best case is your resulting attitude will cause you to be more like those you admire.