Just so you know, I am writing this blog as much for me as I am writing it for you. We may not realise it, but we are being tested many times every day, and my question to you is, are you passing or failing those tests? I am already squirming in my seat as I write this, because I have failed tests just recently. If what I share is uncomfortable for you, then I want to encourage you with all my heart, to own it and then start passing the simple daily tests.

What am I talking about? As humans we tell ourselves stories about the kind of people we are and character traits we have. We try to convince ourselves and other people we are honest, respectful, reliable, positive, punctual, have integrity, and so on. When I say we, I am talking about me. The problem is that there is a great risk that the stories we tell ourselves and the way we behave do not align. Every day there are little tests to see if we are actually and authentically living the way we convince ourselves we are.

One morning, during the week just gone, I had a meeting booked on zoom. A few minutes before the scheduled meeting time I started the meeting and waited for this person to join. Five minutes late, 10 minutes late, no response to text messages and phone calls, and then after 20 minutes of waiting, I ended the meeting and went and had a shower. I was cranky. As I stood in the shower, I thought, this person has just failed multiple tests. He had failed the respect for others time test. He had failed the integrity test. This person is normally very reliable, so whilst I don’t think he failed the reliability test, he was certainly marked down.

I was feeling all self-righteous and judgmental of this person as I headed out for a meeting scheduled later that morning. Except, I realised I myself was running a little late. I sent a message to say I was running a few minutes behind, and as I pressed send, it hit me, I had just failed the test. I had just failed the respect of other people’s time test. I had failed the organisation test. I had failed the punctuality test. I had failed the reliability test. These would be character traits I would have said I had in spades, but when push came to shove, I was kidding myself.

How are you feeling right now? A little uncomfortable? Me too. Well, let me throw another one at you. Multiple times this week, and every week, I made calls to people who did not answer, but instead responded with the automated message, ‘Can I call you later?’ Honestly, I wouldn’t mind the message if it were actually followed up by a call later, but it rarely ever is. These people have failed multiple tests. They have failed the honesty test. They have failed the reliability test. They have failed the integrity test.

I am more and more committed to pass these simple tests. I know there will be times when I occasionally fail, however I won’t let that stop me aspiring to be a better person, a more authentic person, and a more responsible person. How about you? You and I are being tested multiple times every day. You are tested when you say you will do something. You are tested by how you respond to people. You are tested when you book a specific time to meet someone. You are tested during conversations. You are tested when your head is in your device. There are many more tests that face us each and every day.

My podcast this week is called Catch. Wait. Reset. I speak with Luke Mathers about some interesting stuff around stress, purpose, and emotional regulation. He talks about the early days of his marriage where he describes himself as a bad husband. He was failing daily tests, left, right and centre, until he decided to pay more attention to living more in alignment with the person he wanted to become.

As you head off into your day, be ready for the test that is coming your way very shortly. Can I encourage you to stand out from the crowd? Most people will be late, stand others up, not call back after sending a message that they will, and fail many of the simple daily tests. Why don’t you and I be different and commit to passing all the simple daily tests that come our way.