Creating Your Character

Is it like an Artist Creating a Sculpture?

Jim Rohn means that and in his latest newsletter he write some about it. Here is what he said:

Could creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture? In my opinion, I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it. In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made. A conscious process is at work. Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive, but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life. Whether it’s winning every game or losing every game. Getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself. Just like you would plant and water a seed or gather wood and build a campfire. You’ve got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You’ve got to chisel away in order to find them. Just like chiseling away the rock in order to create the sculpture that has previously existed only in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character? If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you’ll not only create those qualities, but you’ll continually strengthen them. And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life. Just like the burning bush in the biblical book of Exodus, the bush burned but the flames did not consume it. Character sustains itself and nurtures itself even as it is being put to work, tested, and challenged. And once character is formed, it will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you desire.

What is your opinion? How did you create your character?

Return on Investment

You may or may not have to put a dollar value on your mentoring strategy but you will need to identify some success indicators. Here are a few thought starters.

  • Staff retention
  • Return to work after maternity leave or injury
  • Representation of target group in grade, roles, positions, locations
  • Percentage of applications for internal jobs or promotions
  • Number in the target group who won a position or promotion
  • Number who participate in training, education or development opportunities
  • Number of external (target group) applicants for jobs
  • Benchmark comparison, industry average, other organisations

Some of these are easy to put a dollar value. For example, mentoring programs specifically designed to attract and retain graduates. Recruiting graduates is expensive and there is no ROI if you lose your new person within two years. Gen Y has been notoriously career-oriented and mobile. Some organisations, such as government agencies cannot pay big dollars to get or keep graduates, so mentoring is a cost-effective strategy attractive to the career development focus of this group.

Likewise, many organisations are not ready for the exodus of experience when baby-boomers retire. Being mentors can help keep them, engage them and increase their productivity while facilitating knowledge transfer.

You can probably find some figures within your organisation or industry regarding the replacement cost of staff. Obviously it varies depending on the role. But a ballpark estimate of around 2-3 times annual salary per person could be a starting point. You can’t ignore this kind of money. That’s why one of our major banks was a trailblazer twenty years ago, with mentoring as part of a suit of programs for women on maternity leave. They realised that the cost of losing their talent and experience, long-term, was unacceptable and avoidable.

One way to evaluating ROI is to look at the cost of not having mentoring. Last year one of my clients launched a career-focused mentoring program. However, the GFC meant that the program coincided with a job freeze! Yet because of the mentoring, participants spent twelve months enthusiastic about their employer and confident about their future instead of succumbing to disenchantment. That’s how mentoring works!

The author of this article is Ann Rolfe, and was first published 08. march 2010 on