Character Triangle


For the past few weeks my blogs have addressed some key ways to set your 2013 on the right path – from exploring the notion of Eudaimonia to avoiding burnout at work. Much like the one-off, annual strategic planning of yesteryear, I appreciate that New Year’s Resolutions have evolved into a more dynamic and on-going process.

Sure, January is always an excellent time to focus on our health and wellbeing, especially if the holiday season involved some overindulging. Naturally, the beginning of the year is a great time to think about personal and professional goals for the months ahead. Unfortunately, if you are like 25 percent of the population, you may have given up already. Check out this nifty infographic from via Mediabistro.

The good news is that if you’ve faltered a bit over the past few weeks, you’re certainly not alone. And don’t be discouraged because personal growth opportunities don’t end in Jan. In fact, now is the time to revisit what you want to accomplish. Take a moment to check in and identify what is going well and what isn’t. Would you welcome an approach to a personal development system that is sustainable? Read on.

 One of the biggest reasons people fail on the resolution front is that they haven’t established a foundation for success. Studies show that long lasting changes occur when we shift our habits. You may recall that I wrote about the importance of building keystone habits a few months ago. Making a resolution alone isn’t enough to achieve results; you must turn those goals into positive new habits. When you understand that an effective resolution is a behavior change and a process, you can see how this, along with benchmarks and measurements along the way, become crucial. So this year, I want to give you a reliable method to drive continuous, sustainable, personal improvement.

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new eBook, The Character Triangle Companion: A 30-Day Character Kick Start to an Even Better You. It is designed to help you focus on one of the key principles (Accountability, Respect or Abundance) for 30 days, providing you with the framework to refresh your outlook, improve your relationships and get things done. The best part about it is that you can apply it continuously.

Even better and exclusively on Amazon, it is FREE to you, friends and family BUT ONLY until Feb. 6. After that it will be widely available and retail for $8.99. Click here to download the FREE eBook and get started today.

If you choose to accept this challenge, best of luck to you! Enjoy your 30 days and if you can make the time, let me know how it’s going by emailing me,, Tweet @LorneRubis, and/or post to my Facebook page. Here’s to making 2013 a year of sustainable personal character development for an even better you.

Resolution Evolution in the Triangle,



A Time of Renewal?

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Key point: I have done about 20 radio interviews related to my new book and I’m pleased that there has been wide spread interest in the subject of “character” and the unique elements of The Character Triangle. The radio shows have been with stations in urban and rural markets, in literally every region of America and across all spectrums of listening audiences (age, ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, political leanings, etc). Every group feels that The Character Triangle applies to them. It is perceived as practical and inclusive. That is very gratifying. Thank you for being part of The Character Triangle tribe and being committed to your own character development. And thank you for inspiring others by applying The Character Triangle (CT) in your life.

Radio show hosts tell me that audience response has been overwhelmingly positive and the message is received with enthusiasm. The conversation that seems to spark the most reaction is the idea that we as humans are “verbs” and our purpose in life is to constantly develop our character and ourselves. It takes increased understanding, improved presence and observation, skill practice, and eventually habit development. The use of the CT as a playbook is a useful metaphor.

The following radio show is one of my recent ones with a very experienced and long-time successful radio personality, Trevor Crow. She has a Harvard MBA, and is very accomplished in all matters related to relationships. She has been on CNN and a variety of other top-notch media channels. I hope you can find the time to listen to it.

Character move:

  1. Remember that we are verbs and that conscious personal development is a purpose in its own right.
  2. You are not alone; we all need to work on character development. None of us can say we have “arrived” and need no further improvement.
  3. Remember that our character is bounded by the darkest secrets we hold. We need to build from there and that takes constant renewal. Easter, Passover and Spring all remind us that it is a good time for self-forgiveness, redemption and accepting our right to blossom again.

Renewal in the Triangle,



Can You Step It Up? Seriously?

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Key Point: Followers of The Character Triangle know that one of the three core values is Self Accountability. It is a belief, state of mind and set of behaviors that really differentiates people at work (and life).

Two top notch leadership gurus reinforce the Self Accountability concept: Marshall Goldsmith and Dr. John Izzo. Goldsmith was recently recognized as the No. 1 leadership thinker and the No. 7 business thinker in the world at the bi-annual Thinkers50 Ceremony sponsored by the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Izzo recently released his sixth book, Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything. John’s book shows how stepping up and being self accountable is good for your career, the workplace, and one’s overall well being. The following is an excerpt from Marshall’s blog, interviewing Izzo, in the Huffington Post:

 MG: What is Stepping Up and why is it the right book for our time?

JI: Stepping Up is seeing a need and deciding you are the person who can, should and will do something about it. We live in a time when we face so many problems such as poverty and climate change can only be solved when each of us steps up in our sphere of influence to create change. What’s more victim thinking has become pervasive in our society with everybody pointing a finger at someone else as the source of the problem. What we need are people at work and in communities who step up and decide they are going to create change.

MG: “It’s not my job,” “it was someone else’s fault,” “she needs to change,” and “someone should do something about this or that,” are phrases that you hear often. What is the impact on a person’s career and life when those words become the norm?

JI: Research shows that people who focus on what they can change rather than the external forces that influence them are more successful, less stressed and happier than those who feel like victims. What’s more we can’t fix anything but ourselves, so the moment we focus on what someone else needs to do we lose our power. In the book I suggest that every time you find yourself saying “someone else should do something about… ” you should instead ask, “What can I do about this?” It’s as true in a relationship as it is in a company or a community.

MG: You say stepping up is good for your career but a lot of people believe that people who stick their necks out at work get their heads cut off. Yet you share some fascinating research that suggests the opposite is actually true.

JI: The myth at work is that speaking up and challenging things will get you in trouble. But in the book I show research that shows that the opposite is true. People who speak up and challenge the status quo by bringing constructive ideas for change are rated more highly by their managers and are more likely to get promoted. But there is a caveat. People who finger point and blame are rated poorly so the key is to be what I call a “constructive irritant.” Speak up with ideas rather than blame and always begin by saying “here is what I will do.” Those are the kind of people who get ahead.

Character move:

  1. Challenge yourself to “step up” at work. Are you really stepping up? Bring constructive ideas and act on them for change and improvement.
  2. Do not blame or point fingers (as seductive as it is). Just work off your personal foundation. Step up on what you can control and influence.
  3. Remember that good bosses want and appreciate constructive help. It is good for your career and personal development.
  4. Reread chapter one from The Character Triangle (now carried by Hudson Booksellers at major airports). Watch videos of some of the people Izzo and team feature in the book Stepping Up. Read anything by Marshall Goldsmith.

Stepping it up in The Triangle,



Making Peace With Our Regrets?

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Key point: “If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets. The point is to not hate ourselves for having them. We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly, it reminds us that we know we can do better.”

Sometimes the best thing one can write is already written. The above quote is by journalist and self proclaimed “wrongologist,” Kathryn Schulz from her wonderful presentation on the topic of “regret” as captured in the TED Talks series. It is 17 minutes long but really worth the watch.

Research shows, as pointed out by Ms. Schulz in her presentation, that the biggest areas of regret are around education, career, and relationships.

Recently I have had to focus on my career journey and of course I have regrets. I still feel pain when I reflect on them. But I genuinely have come to understand how imperfect I am and how important working on my flaws has contributed to my personal growth. My regrets have made me a better person. There are documented stages to the psychology of regret and essentially, as Schulz points out, they include denial, bewilderment, and self punishment. They often play like a broken record, over and over and over again.

My challenge has sometimes been the latter part of the regret process: Replaying a continuous loop, essentially calling myself out with unkind self blame… Something like, “how could you be so stupid?” Over the years I’ve become much better at accepting and making peace with my regrets and STOPPING the replay. It is unreasonable and perhaps not even right to just forget or pretend the past is the past. But it is even more important to accept, learn and not hate ourselves for our regrets. We need to make peace with regret!

Character move:

  1. Apply the make peace strategy as neatly captured by
  2. Remember that many, many people have made the same or similar mistakes, have the ability to laugh at ourselves and our humanness (not because what we did was likely funny), and allow time to add perspective and learning. Regret is a benchmark for getting better.

Peace with regret in The Triangle,



Be Present or Be Gone

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Key point: to be a great communicator you have to be truly present. Do you know the 4 key principles of being present? If not what do you do to practice being present? If the answer is that you don’t, you likely have some work to do.

A lot of people have asked me about what I think makes a truly great communicator. One thing I’ve always emphasized in responding, is the importance of remembering how you make people feel. However to make people feel a positive connection with you, PRESENCE is vital.  I recently ran across an iconic article written by Christopher von Baeyer entitled “The Power of Presence.” The following is the essence captured in 4 key elements:

  1. PRESENT: The ability to be centered and aware in each moment of communication.
  2. REACHING OUT: The ability to build and sustain an authentic relationship with one’s audience.
  3. EXPRESSIVE: The ability to communicate dynamically and congruently with voice, body, mind and emotion.
  4. SELF-KNOWING: The ability to reflect upon and leverage one’s unique identity as a person and a professional.

If you have consistent feedback and a validated understanding how to really apply the big 4 above, you’re probably a darn good people connector. If not , I suggest you learn more about about how to develop yourself more in this area . It is a never ending development journey. (By the way, great companies like The Boston Consulting Group, put leaders through days of training on this capability.)

Character move:

  1. Recognize that developing an authentic personal communication system is something each of us can develop. It is a skill system and not just something we’re born with or not. We have to work at it.
  2. Determine where you are relative to each of the 4 principles and pick ONE thing to work on (e.g.working at appropriate eye contact, remembering people’s names and something about them, finding our voice, etc.)
  3.  Remember that at the end of every interaction, people will remember how you made them feel over everything else.

4. Make the ability to be a great communicator and people connector one of your core skills.

Be PRESENT in The Triangle,

– Lorne