'The true test of a person's character is what they do when no one is watching'
- John Wooden
Do you pretend not to notice that the loo roll is out in the office facilities (or indeed the ones at home, and if you know my husband, please show him this ;)), leaving the cardboard roll there, empty, for the next person that comes along? No one will know it was you who left it there. Except you, of course. Maybe you change the loo roll (its takes 2 seconds) and then wipe around the sink with the paper towel. Just for yourself, just for knowing that that’s the kind of thing you do. That’s just how you roll. Thank you for doing that. I love you for it.
Do you roll the trolley back to the trolley line up at the supermarket, instead of leaving it where you parked your car, even when you didn’t put a €2- deposit in?
Do you let an e-learning play through to its completion in one tab of your browser and scroll through world news on another tab simultaneously? No one will EVER know that you did this. Especially if you get the questions right on the test. You know, though. Or do you show up and engage with the training that’s been provided, noticing what you can learn and take away from the experience of participating in the training course. Because that’s how you show up for life? You get it, my friend!
Do you have a special, extra patient voice you use with your children when you perceive the audience requires it? Why do you care more about what a stranger thinks about how you speak to your children that what you think of yourself as a mother?
We erroneously believe that what others think of us is more important than what we think of ourselves.
We think that we only get to feel a particular way about ourselves when someone else sees us in that way, and reflects that feeling back to us. We think that we have to have something seen by someone else in order for to have been (facebook it or it didn’t happen!). The consequences of this is, for most of us, low self esteem and lack of confidence.
Imagine you have a friend and you tell her you want to go walking early every morning. She tells you she would love to go with you. You head out on the first day and wait for her but she doesn’t show up. You call her and she tells you something came up - she is so sorry but she’ll definitely join you tomorrow morning. The next morning you go out again and again, she doesn’t show up. You call her and something else has come up, but she really will join you the next day. Except she doesn’t join you the next day, or the day after that. Pretty soon, you don’t expect her to join you. You lose trust in her. You don’t think of her as a person who has your back. We do exactly this to ourselves when we tell ourselves we are a particular kind of person but yet repeatedly show ourselves that we are not that person. We stop committing to goals or to chasing dreams because we just know we can’t rely on that girl to have our back and get us there. We know that she makes excuses. She isn’t reliable. We really question her character.
What things do you do when no one else is watching that make you proud? The things that you do not to impress, not to people please, not for reward and not for recognition. You do those things just because you are the kind of person who likes to do those things and that’s how YOU like to be, in YOUR own company. Do not discount the importance of these things. They are your character.
Now think of the things you don’t do consistently but you really would like to. Pick one and commit to consistently do one thing that think, consistently this week, for the whole week. It can be as small as rinsing your coffee cup under the tap before putting it into the dishwasher as you leave the office for the day. Write in the comments or message me, and tell me what it is you plan to do and I want to hear from you, how you got on with it.
Get ready to be astonished at how badass you can get to feel by picking one small thing and committing to just becoming someone who, non-negotiably does that thing, consistently and regardless of who is around - just because that’s the kind of person you are. A person of excellence and character.