Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice

The responsibility of leadership, either in your community or as a business owner, challenges you daily with a plethora of issues that require sound decision making and prompt action. Allowing yourself to be stressed out or treating every dilemma as an apocalyptic event will result in lost clients, angry customers, and failed partnerships. As a younger man, I experienced all of the above and life was filled with pitfalls and failures.

As a slightly older fellow, not quite in his dotage, I’ve learned to listen to those around me who have faced adversity and overcome it. I’ve also been blessed to be a part of two organizations that focus on spiritual principles and “Cardinal Virtues”, like those listed above. One of those organizations is a twelve step fellowship. The other is the oldest fraternal organization in the world. I’ll let you look that one up if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The most vital lesson I have learned from being a part of these two congenial fellowships is that the consistent application of spiritual principles in my personal life, and in business, makes me a better and more successful person. Utilizing honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness in my dealings with others gives me personal integrity and earns the trust of peers and associates. The virtues below provide a blueprint for that application:

Temperance – Make Decisions with a Clear Head

Personally I prefer abstinence, having experienced the benefits of that approach since 2002, but for those who do indulge I offer this advice – Indulge Less. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional libation, but you never want to be that guy (or gal) at the Christmas party that everyone is talking about the next day. Entertain clients, let the cocktails and lagers flow freely, but keep your head clear by exercising temperance. You’ll make better decisions and you’ll learn a whole lot about those who over-indulge. In Vino Veritas.

Fortitude – Never Quit when it Gets Tough

Anyone who has been an athlete understands the need for fortitude when faced with an injury, no matter how minor. As a martial artist, I often had setbacks in my training; broken toes, a separated shoulder, and chronic back pains plagued me for a decade and a half, but I never gave up. At 45 years old, I realized one of my life-long dreams and fought in competition. I didn’t win, but I checked that experience off my bucket list. Running a business requires the same type of fortitude. Never give up, no matter how bleak the outlook is.

Prudence – Caution is not Fear, It’s Intelligence

Remember as a child when you were taught to “count to ten” before reacting? It may be a distant memory at this point, but for most adults who grew up BF (Before Facebook), the need for prudence in social interactions has been an essential life skill. Decision making in business situations requires the same type of cautious approach. It’s okay to “take five” or “sleep on it” before taking action. This practice has helped me make many more right choices than wrong ones. Spending time thinking about a situation before acting is not fear; it’s an exercise in intelligence.

Justice – Be Fair and Use the Same Rules for Everyone

Nothing disrupts a company more than inequality in policies and actions with employees, prospects, or clients. I believe that the whole human species is one family, and that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of gender, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or religion. The Declaration of Independence states that “All Men are Created Equal”. Our society and this wonderful country we live and work in are suffering because this principle is not applied consistently. As business owners and leaders in our respective fields and society, it’s critical for us to be fair and impartial in all our affairs.

Grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change …

The words are well known, but how are they applicable to business? How much time do we waste trying to force other people to “believe what we believe” or act contrary to their base nature? These are fruitless exercises and they consume valuable time that can be utilized on more productive tasks. When prospecting, exert your efforts on potential clients who have wants and needs you can address. Don’t burn your energy trying to argue with the naysayers.

Finally … Have Faith. Galations 6:7 says, “God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” If that doesn’t resonate, you may prefer the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, which reads, “Your thoughts, behaviors and actions create specific effects that manifest and create your life as you know it.” In other words, “What goes around, comes around.” Treating others with dignity and respect will cause them to regard you in the same manner.

The principles I’ve laid out in this post are core elements in my efforts to be a better human being. My track record shows that I have been invariably successful in life and business while applying these principles. Please contemplate on the theme of what you have just read for a moment if you would; it’s possible that the job and life stress you feel today will fade away if you incorporate this model into your daily routine. It works for me. It just might work for you, too.

May God be with you on your journey …

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