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Lessons of the Four Foundational Attributes: Hope, Purpose, Character, Attitude

Consider the Lessons of Hope, Purpose, Character, and Attitude

In recent blogs, I discussed four of the foundational and essential attributes for carrying out lives that are intentional, relational, productive, and just. I discussed how hope keeps our eyes looking upon the horizon, striving and expecting a better tomorrow. Hope infused with purpose allows one to achieve a fundamental component of a fulfilling life through the vagaries of success, failure, and adversity – all the while calling us to be mindful and resilient.

Together, hope and purpose attain their highest return when accompanied by universally recognized character traits that drive our moral and ethical actions, responses, and personal interactions. Add to this an attitude where curiosity and gratitude allows us to visualize opportunities, consider new innovations, and genuinely ask questions that seek understanding and knowledge.

However, intellectually agreeing and ascribing to these notions, no matter how well articulated and understood, is not enough. They must be put into action. Each one of these lessons of hope, purpose, character, and attitude call us to expand and clarify our thinking, invigorate, and improve our relationships. They help us to direct and refine our leadership, and positively impact our culture.

Four areas that require inspection are:


  • Why do we exist as a person (or as an organization) – will our actions benefit others like friends, colleagues, customers, vendors, community
  • Always give your best critical and measured thinking, not what you think others want to hear
  • Be receptive to creativity and innovation; encourage ideas, and be open to new approaches to problems
  • Emerging problems and challenges call for flexibility and adaptability in order to mitigate and solve pressing needs
  • Adjust quickly to changing priorities and conditions
  • Maintain calmness and clarity in crisis


  • Possess a genuine affection for people
  • Listen to their story, see through their eyes
  • Make those who work for you successful
  • Value people more than process and procedures
  • Do “win/win” or don’t do it
  • Build through collaboration
  • “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out”.*                                                                                                                                       *Proverbs 10:9


  • Rights – people follow because they have to
  • Relationships – people follow because they want to
  • Results – people follow because of what you’ve done for the organization
  • Reproduction – people follow because of what you’ve done for them
  • Respectpeople follow because of who you are and what you represent                                                 *John C. Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You


  • Timeless core values associated with character and attitude never change
  • Be ruthless in setting high expectations of character and attitude
  • Achieve success without compromising your moral or ethical beliefs
  • Choose people who are predisposed to your core values
  • Be hard on issues and easy on people
  • Deal wisely, yet swiftly with difficult people
  • “There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes”. *                                                                                                                        *William J Bennet, The Book of Virtues

As I reflect on what I’ve penned over the last several months and my experience of more than 50 years in the military and business world, I’m reminded that most people will resonate with the heart of what I’m suggesting. However, it is much easier to write about what one should do versus putting into effect the changes required to achieve real change. Some would say to take it one step at a time. These lessons of hope, purpose, character, and attitude carry an importance to the person, the culture, and ultimately the organization. I am reminded of a phrase I once heard concerning needed change, “start fast and pick up speed.” There is no benefit in waiting to do the right things, for the right reasons, to achieve the right results.

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