Gumption. Noun. Fortitude and determination, or sound practical judgment.

I grew up in a household where your character defined who you were in the world. Character is a lot of things to different people. For me they include honesty, integrity, kindness, selflessness, work ethic, sense of humor, humility and my personal favorite; gumption. These were illustrated, demonstrated and taught by the people my parents chose to surround me with. These words get tossed around a lot with little thought to their meaning. So what does it mean to have integrity? Some people say integrity is what you do when you think no one else is watching.

When I opened Healing Tree in 2010 I kept coming back to one question: How will my business reflect my character? While what swirled about me were statements like “It takes more to run a successful business than hard work and passion”, “Sometimes you have to accept less than the right thing in order for the business to run well”, or another personal favorite “It’s okay to just half ass it this once” … I stuck true to what I knew. It is always in your best interest to do the right thing. It is always in your best interest to treat people with kindness and that with enough hard work, passion and patience you can be successful. While duct tape is great for jerry-rigging items around your house, there is no room for it in business. You don’t half ass. You don’t make decisions without knowing all the information. When in doubt be humble and ask for help from someone who knows more than you; there are plenty of them out there.

Despite life always happening and the world being off-kilter a little lately, I thought it would be important to emphasize that character counts. We can’t stop illustrating, demonstrating or teaching this to people of all ages. It helps children become their authentic selves and develop a moral compass. It helps struggling adults become healthier in their lifestyles and get a jump start towards a healthier, more-successful version of themselves. Regardless of what someone tells you, or what the world tells you, I believe character will always matter and serve you well.

Be kind. Work hard. Find your gumption.