This week I ran across a booklet of corporate material from a previous employer. It contained various motivational sayings that had shaped the corporate culture through the years. One page jumped out to me. It stated, “Life is a long distance race. There is always someone watching.” This reminded me that there are always people observing how I act, respond, and treat others.
I can think of two primary groups of individuals who watch me on a regular basis, my children and my employer. Children pay attention to the smallest of details about all of life. They watch how I treat my wife and how I consistently interact with them. My employer is observing not only my job performance, but how well I fit into the team with my fellow employees.
As I think about others observing my behavior, I am reminded of three principles that influence how I should act in all situations:
- I must be aware of my potential to impact others. How I act will influence how others act. As a father I help establish the culture of my home. If I regularly display a frustrated and angry attitude, it is likely that my children will mimic this behavior. At work, if I am passive and do as little as possible to get by, my co-workers are likely to follow suit or grow to resent my negative actions.
- How I act reflects on my character. Warren Buffett said, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” There are many opportunities each day to act honorably and do what I know is right. I have heard character defined as “doing what is right when no one is looking.” That is important, and it is just as important to do right when people are watching!
- Actions speak louder than words. My word should be my bond. It is essential that I do what I said I will do. My physical actions reveal my true motivations. I can say repeatedly that I want to lose weight but continuing to eat a poor diet betrays my true desire. This principle can be especially revealing with children. My children can sniff out when I am living contrary to how I have told them to behave. I have had to apologize to them saying one thing but then doing another. What a humbling experience!
I encourage you to remember that someone is always watching and observing your behavior. You have an opportunity every day to be a positive influence on others.
Question: Have you identified some people who are regularly watching you? Are your actions bringing a positive or negative influence? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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