“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
No real surprise here to people that know me, but I’m a VERY competitive person. It could stem from being the youngest of six kids growing up the Midwest on one blue collar salary, and sustenance was the key. Or perhaps it was a way to get noticed when I didn’t feel like I mattered in a family with dysfunction as rampant as mine.
But all that really doesn’t matter now does it?
The source of the competitive nature is only helpful in identifying a root cause to behavior. And once established becomes of no consequence unless I choose to stay in a victim role and associate with the experience.
So imagine my surprise, while at training with 15 type AAA personalities and intense competition when I actually had enough integrity to turn in my graded exam to be marked down for two questions that were initially marked correct. I even went so far as trying to return my gift for being above 95%, but my boss refused to let me do it.
Sure, I could sit here and say it was an act of integrity, to be able to sleep better at night. But truth be told, it wasn’t that. At first, I tried to hide the fact from the person sitting next to me, flipping past the page quickly so he wouldn’t notice. That was dishonesty. That was hiding from the truth. And a part of me thought he may have seen the error and could potentially use it against me.
So by the time we were through reviewing the information as a group, I bit the bullet and pointed out the error to my boss privately. It meant that I wouldn’t be the Top Gun for the class in overall average. It meant that I wouldn’t be able to look down on my peers from the imaginery pedastal I envisioned being place on.
No, there was no glory to come.
And then it hit me. What if after reviewing my score they went back and did that to everybody. Especially when I found out that there was a financial tie to the performance on the average exam score? Fear gripped me and I wanted to go run and hide.
But a more level head prevaled. I paused, turned inward, and knew I had to talk about it with someone. I chose to do so with a few of my colleagues over lunch. I’m not sure how they took this new information, but I can tell you one thing. They still continued to rib me about being perfect.
They didn’t like me for what I did, just for who I am.
Just for today, I will like and accept myself for who I am, not for what I do.