Last week, Peyton Manning made it official.  After 18 years, he hung it up.  I invite you to watch his retirement address.  Whether you are a fan of NFL Football or Peyton Manning… or not… I invite you to watch.  Since that speech, many a commentator has weighed in on its content and delivery.

Two weeks back, I wrote of the Character Lens, in how we reflect on work and life.  I believe that lens to be a powerful way to view life… examining it for moments of strength from which to learn going forward.  When I personally watched and listened, here is what I heard in terms of strength of character expressed and/or appreciated by Peyton.

REVERENCE was a powerful theme as he addressed his motivation for mastery in the game he loved to play for so many years.  But, there was also… honor, respect, resilience, dignity, fortitude, forbearance, faith, perseverance, thankfulness, decisiveness, loyalty, caring, friendliness, zeal, humility, joyfulness, contentment, certitude, strength, compassion, flexibility, enthusiasm, gratitude, confidence, assertiveness, love, boldness, integrity, openness, determination, steadfastness, sacrifice and faithfulness.

I did not make this list as I was listening, nor did I count them up during.  But, afterwards, I reflected on what I saw, heard and experienced… at least 34 strengths of character!  The words were moving.  The stories, rich.  The emotions were palpable; and all from a player in a game all-to-often known simply for its force.

I am a football fan because I believe it to be a game, when played true, that is noble.  Whether you share that view or not is not my point.  My point is that these virtues are neither soft nor fluffy.  They are strengths, of character.  As we lead our classrooms, boardrooms, workplaces and communities… let us wear our character lens’ and let us understand that character is the soil from which capacity grows.  In so doing, we advance our work and our love for it.

belated congratulations Peyton… and thanks for reminding me again how vital character is in giving our best to that which we revere.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™


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