"Work is what we do, it's not who we are. However, how we do it tells others everything they need to know about us" — James McPartland
In the world we operate in, it appears most of us are pretty busy. Yet there’s a fundamental truth we can’t hide from: When it comes to how we conduct ourselves, it doesn’t matter how full our plates are, character counts.
If our ability to use words were taken away, and someone followed us around with a camera for a few days, they would come to understand our priorities, our values, and our way of performing in the world.
When I think of the astounding accomplishments many great people have achieved, I am curious to know how they allocate their time and energy. Remembering that time is a great equalizer, we can come to recognize that we always have all the time that there is. We can move past thinking, “Well, those high-achievers just have something I don’t”, as each of us has the same amount of time as “the greats” do on any given day.
Instead let’s move toward allowing the high-performers around us to inspire and begin to ask ourselves, “How?”
How do they think?
How do they learn?
How do they communicate (especially to themselves)?
And sometimes I even like to wonder, “How do they want to be remembered?”
As you study people, and perhaps as other people study you, the question of how one approaches the game of life is a worthwhile study of character. Applying my curiosity to people I admire is something I do frequently. I like to ask myself: “How do they do what they do?”
I want to understand how they keep promises, how they make decisions, how they connect and collaborate, and how they engender trust. How do they relate to their customers, to the environment, and to the communities that they operate in? How do they care for themselves? How do they enlist the power of words to influence others? How do they treat their co-workers, family, and friends? How do they treat strangers? How do they manage setbacks, stress, and those around them who may not operate according to the high standards they strive to hold themselves to?
Having a strong reason why can propel us to do some truly incredible things with our lives. I believe that if we know what we need to do to achieve a goal, then our goal may not be big enough. And while figuring out what it takes to crush a big goal can be daunting, the chances are pretty good that someone has already achieved that very goal. Most things are teachable, but that doesn’t guarantee it to come easy.
So how are you showing up on your field of play?
Do you keep your promises?
Do you take responsibility for all the outcomes in your life?
Are you listening to understand or to respond?
Do you tolerate the intolerable?
Do you speak truthfully?
Do you have a growth mindset?
Life is a team sport, and learning how to play to the best of our ability is a pursuit in mastery. We always improve, yet never arrive. How goes the game for you? Are you getting feedback and coaching? Do you pursue knowledge? Are you aware of how you play your game and of the impact that it has on all of the players around you?
My field of study has shown me time and again that learning how is a trainable skill. Some of the most powerful leaders are the most inquisitive students. Every one of us has the time to learn how. Time may be finite, but learning opportunities are infinite. The best of the best study their “how”.
How about you?