Live a Character Focused Life

Children are often asked the question:

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Adults are often asked the question:

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I do not like these questions. At least not as standalone questions. These questions are great for getting an idea of a person’s vision, but should be followed up by questions that help us pinpoint ones inner values.

Questions such as:

  • Who do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Who do you want to be 5 years from now?

Start to take us down that path.

When I hear the “what” and “where” questions – that makes me think of a profession and/or position.

When I hear the “who” question – that makes me think of character. A heart based question rooted in identifying the fiber of our very being. These positive qualities bubble up:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Generosity
  • Graciousness
  • Courageous
  • Bold
  • Curious
  • Empathetic

I challenge myself to focus on my character and I do the same with my children. Yes, I have an idea of things I’d like to achieve, but I don’t want to reach them if my character is trash.

I am raising my sons to focus on WHO they want to be and less on WHAT they want to be. I have experienced leaders that achieved positions of power, yet were unable to keep them due to WHO they were at their core. One of them was a spiritual leader that proclaimed to the congregation “Get right or go to Hell” – yet the leader led me to the very pit of Hell in this earthly realm. I don’t care WHAT you do for a living. I care about WHO you are when no one is looking.

You see if you focus on WHO you want to be – your life will lead you to the WHAT and God will open up doors that no man can shut.

A society that prioritizes better character yields less corruption.

One of my favorite biblical stories is about Joseph (see the book of Genesis). God sent him a vision of him rising to a position of power. Young Joseph was not quiet about it – he did not have discretion. He ended up telling his jealous brothers who sold him into slavery. Joseph was thrusted into 

Character Chiseling.

Situation after situation refined him…broke him…refined him…broke him…until God saw that his character was ready to properly carry and keep him where he was destined to lead. 

We must prioritize character checking our leaders right alongside the standard credential checks.

As we enter the end of year season of reflection – I pray we place the “What” to the side & zoom in  on the kind of WHO we want to evolve into no matter what we go through. May we press into the character challenges that exist all around us to level up. Do this and all will go well with us.



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