Virtues roadwork: Develop the building blocks of character

To implement a value into your life takes time and work.


In the last exercise, we discussed the integrity of values. You must defend what you build, because the foundation is always under threat of corruption, corrosion, or thievery.

We practice our values by learning the power of virtues, which serve as the building blocks of character. One of the tools used in reinforcing your value system will be the language that mentors use in regular interactions.

In order to hold on to one’s integrity, virtues must be practiced on a daily basis. I want to combine the practice of cultivating virtue with the creation of a language-rich environment.

Virtues help strengthen the lens through which we see.

Here are some short phrases describing particular virtues you might want to emphasize:


Virtue Phrases

Embracing the reality of life on its own terms – willingness to take responsibility for every choice – seeing the beauty in life – speaking one’s belief with a peaceable certainty – showing attention to things and people that matter to us – having a certainty and confidence after discerning what’s right – possessing a generous heart toward those suffering – looking for the good in every situation – pursuing a goal, a person, or a belief wholeheartedly – deep empathy for the less fortunate – feeling capable and certain – carefully thinking about the needs of others – working together for the benefit of the collective – using fear to fuel determination – treating others with honor – using inspiration to ignite our originality – being firm when making a decision or taking a stand – experiencing our emotions without giving them control over our actions – using the power of focus to drive our ambitions – having a sense of personal worth and respect – showing extreme care and attention to our work – subduing the desire to rush decisions – putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes – withstanding adversity and hardship – showing the ability to adapt to change amidst stressful times – letting go of resentments – deeply respecting what’s true and right – being oriented toward a better world – possessing modesty and being unpretentious – seeing what’s possible and working to make a difference – practicing fairness in all we do – steadfast commitment to ideals and people we care about – being reflective and consciously aware of our actions – keeping things where they belong – trusting the process – possessing the strength to recover from adversity – being content with the basic gifts of life – accepting personal differences and avoiding passing judgment – seeking comprehension of the full truth – choosing the right path at the right time – passion for what we care about



How mentors can use virtue phrases

1. You can use these virtue phrases to compliment your mentee: “You showed attention to the things you cared about and were very generous toward the less fortunate.” This shows them that they are capable of good behavior and specifically describes the behavior.

2. You can use the virtue phrases to correct your mentee. Focus more on what you want to happen, not what you don’t want to happen. “Jon, when you make a decision to pursue a goal, you must pursue that goal wholeheartedly.”

3. When there’s improvement, make an acknowledgment: “You have fully embraced the process of pursuing your goal wholeheartedly.”

4. You can use the virtue phrase to decide what type of culture you want to create in your environment. You can create a poster or a slogan.




Exercise: Using the virtue phrases above,

1. What three virtues do you want to begin to work on?

2. What three virtues are you already strong in?

3. What three virtues will be needed in this season of your life?


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