The Standard #52

If I have gleaned any knowledge working within the confines of the corporate world, it would definitely be understanding the necessity of having a strong network in my selected area of employment. Undoubtedly naive, my entry into the corporate environment commenced with an incorrect belief; a trust that hard work alone would translate to acknowledgment and then advancement. I was seriously mistaken. The knowledge and work performance a gentleman wields within the workplace are just as important as the individuals a gentleman knows within the workplace. To be certain, deftly weaving a tight tapestry of professional connections can help progress a gentleman’s career and provide outlets to a myriad of opportunities that may nurture both professional and personal growth. I am quiet by nature, but being locked down in my cubicle studiously working under the radar was not doing me any favors. To provide my career with a much-needed injection of significant development, I needed a great deal more than labor alone.

Now, I can credit 4 colleagues – all in management – that encouraged me to stretch beyond my comfort zone and seriously consider advancing my career within the company. The first step was discovering my voice, volunteering for projects, and increasing my visibility within supply chain management. As I stated before, I am a natural introvert, so communicating my thoughts aloud to other individuals was challenging. Nevertheless, the more I spoke in open forums and collaborated with other people, I began to feel more at ease with being more vocal. If you want to advance your career in a meaningful fashion, I strongly encourage the exercise of extending yourself beyond your comfort level. A gentleman should identify individuals that will readily exchange valuable skills & insight, embrace stretch assignments, and actively collaborate with persons he wouldn’t necessarily engage with normally. Think of it as a human portfolio that boasts an intellectual diversification suited for professional and personal growth. Success is not procured within a vacuum, it is nurtured within an environment of varied thought, experience, and learned guidance.

Someone you know needs to read this, so share if you care. Empower and encourage someone today.

The Standard #37

Rest assured, the successful gentleman is never content with static movement in regard to his professional career. He continuously seeks opportunities for advanced growth that will cultivate and promote an ever-expanding, internal knowledge base. Moreover, rest assured, the successful gentleman is never an active participant in his own professional or personal limitations. Being average – at best – is never a standard that is tacitly sought or readily accepted. Eagerly accepting a personal challenge for greatness, he sets the standard by which all others will be measured against, as he is devoutly dedicated to adding value to his life. And empowered with a clearly defined purpose, he ensures that his education never succumbs to restriction and halts. Constantly learning, constantly evolving; this gentleman understands the sacrifice that is required. It may mean accepting projects foreign to his current job description. It may mean late evenings filled with laborious research and reading. It may mean forgoing some sleep or outings with friends. Nonetheless, your trade must be perfected and your personal best must be cultivated. Plying your craft, increasing one’s knowledge in a given profession is paramount. With each drifting day arrives another prime opportunity to learn anew. So, what have you learned today?

Someone you know needs to read this, so share if you care. Empower and encourage someone today.

The Standard #51

To be sure, the thoughtful gentleman understands that every moment of significance carries meaning. Moments matter. This is especially true for the gentleman that has embarked upon the journey of fatherhood. Understandably, the journey is an arduous one, replete with important occasions that beg the focused attention and participation of a father. This is non-negotiable. Hopefully, this active role fosters an intimate relationship between father and child grounded in an appreciation and love exclusive to both involved parties. For example, approximately three years ago, my daughter was experiencing respiratory distress that prompted an expeditious visit to the emergency room. My wife needed to be home with our newborn son since, ironically, a hospital isn’t the best spot for a newborn outside of the initial birth. So I stayed with my daughter through a series of evaluations and treatments until she was discharged.

During the entirety of the event, I provided a calming and reassuring presence for her, as you can expect the circumstances would be quite frightening to a two-year-old. Now, some may think it odd, but I took pictures and videos during our stay in the hospital. I wanted to capture this moment in time; this moment that further strengthened our bond as father and daughter.  To her, I was her protector – a source of depended comfort and safety. To me, she was my ward – simply my little baby girl. I had to be there for her. And every now and again – three years later – I still look at pictures and videos from those days we shared together. And upon viewing them, the emotions from that day come flooding back – in a positive way. Despite the circumstances, I cherish that time we shared together.

Now, I don’t assert that a father and child need to experience an extreme event to form a healthy, caring connection. However, I am asserting that a father should never shy away from moments with his kid(s), no matter how large or small. And he should embrace opportunity fully and make the most of it. Sure, a gentleman probably won’t engage in every waking event, but an honest effort is definitely demanded. There possibly can be a myriad of chances at a gentleman’s disposal: attending a recital, helping with homework, attending children’s school events, etc. Do not be mistaken, inaction is actually a conscious action. Gentlemen, as fathers, ensure the present-day with your kids isn’t a missed opportunity that becomes a distant past that you regret in the future. Make the most of your moments now!

The Standard #30

A man who fails to meet or exceed the level of expectation that he smugly demands of others should abstain from such demands in the first place. Intoxicated by grandiose delusions of false importance, said individual will never earn a modicum of respect from his peers, as he will be viewed as a fraud lacking substance and depth. Effective leadership does not consist of hollow rhetoric and anemic work ethic. Effective leadership does not belittle or ignore other viewpoints. An acolyte of arrogance, a practitioner of presumption and pretentiousness – please expect the absence of any deference from other individuals. You will duly receive what you give. A gentleman shall be judged by his deeds and examples. Ensure that you uphold the same standard you will hold others accountable for. Otherwise, a gentleman will never be an owner of credibility. Own your standard. Reinforce your credibility. Rightfully earn respect from your peers.

The Standard #51

 

To be absolutely certain, a steadfast belief in one’s abilities is an attribute the contemporary gentleman must possess, especially if he desires success in any aspect of life. Without belief, a gentleman’s talent, and the motivation to utilize it accordingly will gradually dissipate. Faith and conviction is the fountain upon which a gentleman’s confidence is based. Without it, a gentleman can never embrace risk, perform a task to the best of one’s ability, or take advantage of an opportunity. Nevertheless, carrying oneself with said confidence, absent a self-awareness of personal shortcomings or weaknesses, can erroneously lead down a path toward pride and conceit. An overestimation of oneself is a gross miscalculation that renders the gentleman oblivious to personal areas that beg identification and maturation.

Moreover, arrogance is blind to valuable, dissenting opinion and obscures contrasting perspectives. It is a dangerous preoccupation of one’s own importance and skill while devaluing other viewpoints. This unwillingness to recognize limitations, and possibly overcompensate due to personal insecurities, deprive the gentleman of meaningful introspection that shapes character and capability. Trust, a gentleman’s hubris is directly proportional to the disconnect that can exist between belief and reality. As a gentleman’s hubris swells, so does that disconnect as he becomes untethered to facts and truth. It is a delicate dance between vanity and self-assurance that must be regulated by humility, modesty, an openness to learn and willingness to admit wrongs. To be sure, a thoughtful gentleman understands that ultimately unchecked arrogance undermines credibility, hinders growth & development, and breaks trust. A thoughtful gentleman understands that cannot be his legacy.

The Standard #50

 

The wise gentleman recognizes that success is never a perpetual certainty, as the unpleasant experience of failure is an inevitable reality. Trust, disappointment is but one of many catalysts for personal growth and development. No one is immune to letdowns and adversity. To be certain, born of failure and disappointment, one’s professional character is forged with steeled resolve and resilience. Acceptance of one’s shortcoming, and then courageously demonstrating the required perseverance to secure success; this is the first crucial step in one’s professional maturation. Trust, it is a challenging and painful process – without a shadow of doubt. The emotional and mental investment is substantial. Anger. Fear. Doubt. Mistrust.

These emotions can be turned outward, inward, or both simultaneously. If success is the desired outcome for the gentleman, harnessing said emotions to positively drive toward his goals is paramount. These feelings, albeit perfectly natural, can be debilitating if left unchecked. Accomplishing one’s professional objectives is never an easy journey, but it is a journey nonetheless – replete with unexpected and sometimes crushing setbacks. A gentleman should never make that journey more difficult than it has to be or give up on it entirely. Instead, embrace it, stand back and objectively view your circumstances with unbiased eyes. What were some takeaways from the situation? What can you do differently going forward? What did you learn about yourself? The answers to these questions will set up a proper approach to effectively and rationally handle disappointment while positioning yourself to capture personal victory.

The Standard #49

 

The professional gentleman understands that success within the workplace is owed not only to an impeccable work ethic, but also to an even-keeled temperament that marries well with fellow colleagues. A colleague that contributes nothing more than a negative disposition and unpleasant attitude can corrupt the morale and atmosphere within the workplace. Now, if you count yourself among the working class community, you understand that a sizable portion of your day is shared with your coworkers, most likely comparable to time shared with your family. Therefore, it would be in the best interest of everyone to make the work environment friendly and collaborative. Trust, no one wants to share close quarters and interact with a malcontent throughout the weekday.

Negative energy is an exhaustive drain on the team, and productivity can be impacted due to time exhausted dealing with said negative energy. The professional gentleman understands that his communication requires active listening, disagreements are treated with civility, and criticism is not offered absent constructive alternatives or meaningful feedback. Employing these methods can surely help foster a positive work environment that leads to better attitudes, willful collaboration, and substantive ideas. You will definitely be the colleague that coworkers enjoy working with and management wants to promote.

The Standard #48

With absolute certainty, the mantle of leadership demands a fidelity to integrity, responsibility, wisdom, and truth. Leadership is an exhausting exercise in guiding others, often thankless, yet undoubtedly needed. It requires a steadfast commitment to exemplifying a righteous standard, a model for all to glean its best virtues. However, do not mistaken, a person charged with the supervision of others may not necessarily retain the aforementioned leadership prerequisites. Trust, regardless of an individual’s station in life, or designation of a title, everyone is not suited to be a leader. Someone that disseminates disinformation and displays a craven hunger for chaos cannot be considered a true leader. A leader’s actions are dictated not by what is popular, rather, a gentleman’s actions are guided by what is just, reasonable, and logical. In the midst of tumult and tribulation, a leader exudes calm and steadiness. Typified by cohesive communication and unambiguous direction, the servant leader is driven not by emotion. Ideally, he embraces a pragmatic approach based on informed, selfless decision-making in the service of others. He recognizes personal faults; and exhibits a willingness to improve, learn, and mature. His mind is open to differing ideology and thought; always ready to compromise on points that are sensible and rational, as serving others is never lost in his actions.

The Standard #47

To be absolutely sure, the world in which we exist is painfully flawed, replete with the best moral and ethical failings that mankind has to offer. Now, the wise gentleman comprehends that unnecessary energy expended toward circumstances that cannot be unconditionally rectified, nor altered is an exercise in futility. Moreover, the wise gentleman also comprehends that he cannot burden himself with the weight of impossibility – indelible moral sins that stain the woven fabric of our humanity. Nevertheless, a gentleman can intelligently wield whatever influence he possesses to assuage challenging and distressing conditions that he may encounter.

One gentleman may not be able to resolve the issue of homelessness, however, he can donate to a local shelter or champion a clothing drive. One gentleman may not be able to eradicate racial workplace bias, however, he can smartly utilize his voice to challenge preexisting discrimination and prejudice. One gentleman may not be able to mend the broken spirits of every at-risk youth, however, he can dedicate much-needed time to mentor or volunteer with a local charity. A wise gentleman does not become discouraged or disenchanted due to the seemingly enormous effort required to confront the difficult complexities that society presents. Regardless of what the problem may be, he simply does what is righteous and just because that is what an honorable and principled gentleman is called to do.

The Standard #46

Because, upon discovering himself in the midst of uncertainty and disquiet, the confident gentleman understands that indecision cannot be an absolute decision. This is exactly where I discovered myself, as a supervisor, this month at my place of employment. Over the course of two years, it has been an enlightening, humbling experience wrought with anxiety, stress, and self-doubt. At times, finally feeling a self-assured comfort with my leadership abilities, and other times, arrested by a sense of failure and inadequacy within my profession. However, when confronted with extenuating circumstances on a myriad of fronts, the definitive, resolute decision-making of a leader was required, and I would either excel or succumb to my professional fears. As reason and logic stood in ambiguous contrast with emotion and empathy, only prayer and deep meditation could grant sound thinking and measured action. And in the end, I was the leader that I had difficulty embracing. Sometimes, the Lord allows tribulation to have a season to reveal self-assured abilities, integrity, and character within oneself in the face of debilitating self-doubt. Faith is trusting the Lord even when life’s challenges are perplexing and burdens appear too heavy to bear. You are the leader that you know you are; trust in Him and fortify yourself in His strength.

The Standard #1

An honorable gentleman fully comprehends the concept of exhibiting class, sympathy, and compassion. During episodes of great tragedy or human misery, the humane gentleman believes in charity and generosity. It is second nature. The considerate gentleman does not greedily seize upon the opportunity to criticize, politicize, or monetize unfortunate realities. His moral fiber is fortified with virtue and humility. He understands that the weight of life may prove too great for some individuals to bear. Alas, he has been blessed with robust shoulders that can bear life’s burdens, and that fact is not lost on him. He is blessed to be a blessing to those in need. Because, benevolence is a character trait that is not foreign to him, nor is it casually minimized. It is far too easy, agonizingly too simple to take what life has pleasantly afforded us for granted. Sometimes, perspective becomes distorted when the lens has become clouded with prosperity. Allow your wisdom to correct your focus. Your current situation could be dramatically different-and not in a good way. Be thankful. And always remember to assist others who may be in need. It could be you that requires the empathetic generosity of a stranger one day.

The Standard #29

Humility. The act of possessing a modest opinion of one’s importance, understanding the complex context of life, and respecting the reality that other individuals may be better at some things than you. Gentlemen, please don’t be mislead by the boisterous musings of silly folk; so enamored by their own greatness that they cannot recognize their own shortcomings. Sometimes a man must recognize his faults and limitations. There is no shame in that. One must understand that embracing humility does not make a gentleman weak, actually, humility strengthens you. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you focused – on the important things in life.

It is brazen arrogance that renders a gentleman vulnerable. Trust this: Keep living and life will eventually happen to you. And life can be the greatest administrator of humility. Recognize your position in life, and even if your station ranks well above others, discipline yourself in humility, as the folly of vanity can ultimately become your undoing. You don’t want to discover this bit of wisdom the hard way, but I am sure that you won’t. Maintain the standard my friends; catch you later.

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