Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Character Building Opportunity

Character Building Opportunity 
We heard it often growing up…all the ways that we were supposedly “building character”
Lose a Little League game.  Get a bad grade on a test.  Bring home a substandard report card.  Get in trouble. Get disciplined.  Suffer through an embarrassment.   
That’s okay, “it builds character.” 
What about now?   

Now we’re grown up.  We’re not in Little League.  We’re beyond high school.  We’ve learned right from wrong, and we’ve all been embarrassed at one time or another.  
When “things” happen these days, in adulthood…when we lose the argument, encounter adversity (at work or at home), or when we’re left feeling embarrassed…are we still building character?

Maybe in some cases…but…
As adults – as leaders, coaches, bosses, business partners, friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, significant others – when we’re put to the test, whether it be in our personal lives or at work, we have an opportunity to reveal our character.  
These are the moments that speak volumes about who we really are, on the inside and just how strong of a person we’ve become
One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of the word, character is:
noun \ˈker-ik-tər, ˈka-rik-\

·      the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone's personality

The OneMoreStep opportunity here is realizing that around every turn, in any season, we have a chance to reveal our true character.  
When our true character is revealed- the way we think, feel, and behave - it just might make a positive difference in someone’s life.  Or it could have a negative impact on those around us.
The good news is that what actually gets revealed is absolutely up to us.  We get to choose!

Character is the will to do what's right even when it's hard.” - Andy Stanley

Two for the road… 

Last year I watched the 2011 documentary, Undefeated, which documents the struggles of a high school football team in Memphis, TN.   

Coach Bill Courtney, the Manassas Tigers Head Football Coach started coaching the film’s featured group of seniors when they were all in the 8th Grade. 

While it’s very cool to watch what Coach Bill did with the Tigers on the football field, what makes the film so inspiring is that it’s really not about football…it’s about character.

Earlier this year, Coach Bill Courtney’s book, AgainstThe Grain: A Coach’s Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love, came out.  I read it cover to cover, and not only loved it, I recommend the book for anyone, at any stage in his or her life or career.  Coach Bill challenges us all to become uncommon men and women, and the principles and illustrations in the book will leave you inspired to do just that.  True gifts from a coach.

Relationship Mechanics
Earlier this month my girlfriend and I took a trip to Southern California to escape the Vegas heat.   
About halfway through our 3.5 hour drive across the desert, we heard a clack, clack, clack, clack sound coming from under the car…a bit concerning at 70 miles per hour, on I-15 in the middle of nowhere.
We made it to our destination late Friday night but bright and early the next morning, we were off to Huntington Beach, CA.  We had looked up an auto repair shop in the area, and at just after 7am, we pulled up to Francisco’s Automotive.
I walked into the shop, and there sat a happy, smiling face with a cup of coffee, tidying up his desk.  Francisco himself.
He quickly said, “Good morning…how are you?  What can I do for you today?”  I gave him the rundown, and he asked me a few more questions...he was genuinely interested – where I’m from, what I’m doing in town, what I do in Vegas, etc.
He came out to the car, took a quick look under the car, and put Jenna and I both at ease…telling us this was no problem.  The cover underneath the car had simply come loose, with all the winds we drove through the night before.  He told us he could have it fixed right up for us in no time, and he assured us that it would be totally fine to drive back to Vegas the next day.

While we waited for his mechanics to report to work, Francisco made small talk with us.  He asked us what we would like to see while we were in town, offered up suggestions for sights to see, places to eat, and great places to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.   
He invited us to come around, on his side of the counter, so we could see his computer screen as he Google Imaged different areas along the Pacific Coast Highway that we should ‘check out’ while we were in town.
The coolest part…when he and his team finished up with our car, we asked him how much we owed him.  He said, “absolutely nothing…just put some money in that little thing there”, pointing to a donation box for American Family Housing, an organization offering housing and supportive services to the poor, the homeless, and low income families. (

Francisco went on to tell us how he, too, was homeless when he was a child, and the American Family Housing philanthropic work that he does has become his true passion these days.   
He not only survived homelessness, growing up in Southern California, but he started his own business from nothing.
Having experienced Francisco’s service first-hand, I can see why he’s been so successful as an entrepreneur since the mid 1980’s.   
I’m sure he’s extremely knowledgeable about cars, but I can’t help but think that his success is mostly because of his character.
If you’re ever in Huntington Beach and find yourself in need of some auto mechanic magic, Francisco’s Automotive is your place – 7662 Slater Ave.  Tell Francisco Taylor and Jenna sent you…
Have a great day.

Francisco's YouTube video, giving anyone and everyone a glimpse into what customers can expect says it all:

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