A heart of influence
Character lies at the very heart of influence. Our character – defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the mental and moral qualities that are distinctive to each person – shapes how we relate to the world around us. To stimuli, environmental experiences, and to the people we encounter each day. It impacts our work ethic, our decision-making, our approach to problem solving, and our leadership style.
In short, our character permeates who we are, what we do – and how we are perceived (the level of trust others will place in us). Our character shapes our ability to influence in much the same way as our heart enables us to live.
The heart requires no conscious intervention from the mind. It works tirelessly, beating more than two and a half billion times in an average lifetime. In each heartbeat, four chambers work together to receive and distribute blood through two ‘loops’ – one loop pumps life-giving, oxygenated blood and other nutrients to every part of the body, while gathering waste and impurities and returning these to the heart. The second loop directs the impure, deoxygenated blood to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen restored.
Every minute those blood cells repeat the circuit: from the lungs through the right atrium, into the right ventricle, through the arteries, bringing life. Back through the veins, picking up waste and impurities, to be received by the left atrium, passed into the left ventricle to be pumped back to the lungs to be purified.
As long as that cycle continues, life continues. A healthy heart receives oxygenated blood and nutrients (life) and pumps it out, ensuring that impurities are gathered and directed to where they can be removed and the blood replenished.
Receive – give – cleanse.
But if the heart malfunctions – because of poor lifestyle choices, genetic disorders or other factors – impurities are spread through the body like poison, corrupting the quality of life and bringing illness and death.
What a model for life, leadership and influence.
Like blood flowing through a body, our communication – our thoughts, words and deeds – should disseminate nourishment and life to our interactions and relationships with others, while gathering and disposing of the impurities (such as negativity, criticism, or defeatism).
As a wise man once said, “Guard your heart [character] for it is the wellspring of life”. Our character shapes our influence, and the quality of our relationships and lives.
Because credibility is currently in such short supply, it may well be the single most important factor in persuasion, and the single most important factor in credibility is character. Fortunately, you have almost absolute control over your character.
Dr Joel P Bowman
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.
The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.