Adversity does not build character, it reveals it." James Lane Allen
This quote is almost 100 years old and yet its relevance today is as true as ever. We all face adversity in our lives and the past two years I have watched as someone I care deeply for has shown their strength of character. Not that it was planned at all!
This man has been a loyal friend, a positive influencer, respectful co-worker and what most of us would call a 'good person', living with integrity and kindness. A devastating cancer diagnosis suddenly changed his life and he ultimately had to retire from a career he loved and refocus his days on surviving and thriving. He has faced serious challenges with treatments, mobility and communication. Through it all he has remained a steadfast loyal friend, a positive influencer, a respectful co-worker (even in retirement) and a good person ... still living with integrity and kindness. So I got to wondering how that happened and this quote landed on my desk.
Watching the evolution of his illness and recovery I realized that while the adversity had changed him physically, emotionally and psychologically, it hadn't touched the core of who he is: his character. Definitions of the word "Character" include 'distinctive qualities', 'mental and ethical traits', 'essential nature', etc. All great words to explain what we all see or feel when we spend a little time with others. What I learned from this experience was that while the health problems seemed on some levels to change who this man was, they had not eroded his character; his way of being in the world.
In my work with individuals and organizations I talk about the Creator within (from the TED*/3VQ work); the part of us that helps guide our way of relating to others. In every instance, as people dig deeper into what I am reminded of is their character, they discover a profound sense of wellbeing and certainty. This is the powerful fuel that builds bridges between colleagues, friends and family. This is what makes us work that much harder to create a safe, inviting workplace. This is what keeps us going through adversity.
Ms. Daryl Wood is a Certified Coach and TED*/3VQ Practitioner dedicated to sharing The Empowerment Dynamic (TED*) with organizations who understand that healthy relationships are critical to their success. She also coaches individuals to live with integrity and resilience. Visit www.darylwood.com and www.therespectfulworkplace.ca