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Write Your Character Report

monday security memo Sep 27, 2020

Monday Security Memo

Intellectual firepower for security professionals

Write Your Character Report

Like many Americans, I am thrilled that football season is back.  Political posturing and social debate aside, watching football is still a welcome outlet from what has been a difficult year for many, thanks to COVID-19.  To get into the spirit of the season, I spent the weekend reading a book entitled, The Lombardi Rules: 26 Lessons from Vince Lombardi, The World's Greatest Coach.  It was written by Lombardi's son, Vince Jr. 

Now, for those who don't follow American football, Vince Lombardi is regarded as one of the most successful coaches ever, leading the Green Bay Packers to multiple championships in the 1960s.  He is so well-respected that the Super Bowl trophy is actually named after him.  Furthermore, his dedication to the game - and his strict adherence to mastering the fundamentals - has made him a timeless reference for corporations, military organizations, and other sports teams.  

Of the 26 "rules" outlined, I was most interested in Rule #4: Write Your Character.  Allow me to share with you what Lombardi, Jr. wrote:

Character is the first requirement of [Coach] Lombardi's leadership code.  The word "character" is derived from older words that mean "engraved" and "inscribed."  These etymological roots imply something important.  Character is written, inscribed, and engraved all over you.  Everyone has character, but not all of us are "of" character.  Character is founded on unchanging principles.  It is your underlying core.  It has unspoken power.  It is solid and resolute, it doesn't blink.

Most important, character is a series of decisions and choices that you must make as you grow and mature.  Character is not something that is handed to you; it must be forged through years of hard work and discipline.  It is the culmination of years of choosing to act one way rather than another, of choosing truth over deception, respect over arrogance, compassion over cruelty.  There is not one prescription for character.  A favorite theme of Lombardi's was that you cannot simply copy someone else's character.  Character must fit our own personality and characteristics if it is to withstand trial by fire.

There are many techniques for "Writing Your Character."  These include the habits of:

  • Seeking truth
  • Finding and keeping faith
  • Practicing humility
  • Showing respect and compassion to others

In the end, building character takes self-discipline.  Being able to internalize the principles and values you believe in means that they will surface in times of crisis.  This takes daily renewal and practice.

As Coach Lombardi famously said, "Improvements in moral character are our own responsibility.  Bad habits are eliminated not by others, but by ourselves."

How will you write your character?


Stay safe and vigilant!



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