Becoming a Person of Stature

The word stature can mean your physical height, but here I’m more interested in a second definition. Your stature is the quality of character you’ve developed as a result of your achievements, experiences, and personal growth.

I know this word may seem a bit old-fashioned to some, but there’s something I really like about it. You might think of stature as a reference to one’s social status, and it can be used in that way, but let’s focus on your own private, personal sense of stature first.

How do you feel about the person you’ve become thus far? How do you feel about the quality of character you’ve developed through your achievements, experiences, and personal growth up to this point?

Do you like your current character? Do you enjoy and appreciate the roles you play? Or do you struggle internally and fight yourself more than you’d like?

Do you have a well-defined character? Are you clear about who you are and where you’re going? Do you know what you want?

Do you like how your character has been evolving recently? Do you look back on the past year of self-development and feel pleased with the results?

While we can think of stature in terms of levels, I encourage you to think in terms of alignment. How aligned do you feel with the overall quality of your character today?

As you reflect upon these questions, what kind of vibe comes up for you now? Are you feeling good about your inner relationship with yourself? Do you feel disappointed or frustrated? Mixed feelings? Something else? Those inner feelings help to measure the quality of your alignment.

Also consider your perceived social status. What’s your stature in the eyes of others? Do people respect you, appreciate you, and treat you well? Are you treated with disrespect or a lack of appreciation? Are you mostly ignored? Mixed results? Something else?

Raising Your Stature

You probably like and appreciate some aspects of your character while in other areas you must admit that you’re a bit of a fixer upper. Most of us seem to be in that same boat. We all have weaker areas that lag behind the rest. But can you still feel that you’re a person of solid stature even with a bunch of flaws? I think you can.

Your social status may be determined by social forces, which you can influence but not control. Your personal stature is for you to claim on the inside, and you don’t need anyone’s permission to make that claim.

When my personal stature was at its lowest point in life many years ago, I realized I was in for a long road of digging myself out of a pit of despair. I didn’t feel good about the person I’d become. Eventually I realized that I had to get myself aligned with a long-term commitment to personal growth and character development. I decided to become a better human being than I thought I was at the time, even though I didn’t really know how. But I knew that I could commit to lots of learning and growth.

Action-wise I had to dig myself out of that pit of problems, and that would take time. But internally I could begin to shift into alignment with the person I desired to become. I didn’t have perfect clarity about what a better version of me would be like, but I could summon some clarity about the most glaring issues, and that was enough to get started. I could at least commit to shedding what I was ready to leave behind.

Once I made that internal commitment, it changed how I felt about myself. Even though the externals of my life still looked bleak, my inner commitment set me on a different course. No one else could see it, but I recognized that the energy signature of my life had changed powerfully. My personal stature took a quantum leap forward, even while my social status remained stagnant or declining in the eyes of others. I had finally begun to act in alignment with real values that mattered to me. It was this inner commitment that eventually turned my social status around as well, although that would take much longer.

I think today we expend too much energy fussing over social status (outer stature) and not enough energy improving our relationships with ourselves (inner stature). If you can develop a stronger sense of inner stature, the outer aspects will tend to take care of themselves, and you won’t need to fuss over them so much.

Standing Tall

Stature comes from a root word that means “to stand,” which links with deciding what your character stands for. The word also brings up associations to standing tall, standing up for yourself, and wielding a sense of relaxed confidence.

This word also makes me think of these related words (via the priming effect):

  • Sculpture (as in character sculpting)
  • Structure (bringing order to chaos)
  • Stats (like character stats)
  • Statue (rock solid and grounded)
  • Status (which can refer to social status or your relationship to circumstances)
  • State (stating or declaring who you are, inner state of being)
  • Mature (becoming the person you desire to be)

Standing tall is a choice and a commitment. And it damn sure isn’t easy sometimes. People may try to cut you down when you attempt to stand tall and live in alignment with your values. You may need to bandage the cuts and stand tall again.

One pattern I’ve acknowledged is that the resistance I attract tends to be in proportion to my own inner sense of stature. If I try to stand tall with self-doubt and hesitation, I invite a commensurate response from reality that will show me just how pathetic my alignment is. But when I feel strongly aligned internally, and then I stand tall in some way publicly, I get the opposite – love, support, encouragement, appreciation, and more.

The “and more” part includes this: When you stand tall, you often encourage others to do the same. Standing tall can create many ripples. You will influence people even when you aren’t deliberately trying to do so.

I saw this happen when I proclaimed my commitment to blog every day for the rest of 2019 and for all of 2020 in yesterday’s post on 365-Day Challenges. For me that was an act of alignment, my own version of standing tall for something that’s important to me. Yet this act has been creating powerful ripples for other people too, and a bunch have already thrown down the gauntlet and said they’re making similar 365-day commitments for 2020 as well. Presently it’s up to about 10 people that I know of so far, and I expect more will proclaim their intent by the end of the year. Then there are all the people who will be influenced by those 10 over the course of the next year and beyond. So consider the multiplier effect when you stand tall – and also consider the multiplier effect when you don’t.

Static Versus Dynamic Stature

You may find that the word stature feels a bit fixed, solid, and static for your tastes. Perhaps you like flexibility, freedom, and the ability to keep your options open. I love freedom too, so I can resonate with this sentiment.

While we are not statues, there are benefits to thinking of our characters in more statuesque ways, as if we’re actually timeless and permanent beings. It’s a different way of knowing ourselves, and in some ways it’s more honest. While we can and do change as we grow, some aspects change very little, but our acceptance and understanding of those aspects can improve over time – and therefore our ability to leverage them.

When I think about my stature, I sometimes ask myself questions like these:

  • Who am I outside of time?
  • What can I say about the timeless version of me?
  • What about me is unchangeable?
  • What about me isn’t likely to change in the next 10 years?

If you resonate with a more spiritual angle, then you could think of your stature as your degree of alignment with your higher self. How big is the gap between you and YOU?

Consider what happens if you always keep your options open, especially when it comes to your work, relationships, and personal growth. Keeping your options open means you don’t really commit and invest. This is fine if you want to play it safe, play the field, or explore for a while. There’s tremendous value in exploration. But at some point you’re likely to want to plant your flag and more deeply explore a meaningful commitment. Commitment-free exploration has its limits.

Have you run into such limits yet? Is keeping your options open starting to feel stale, boring, frustrating, unsatisfying, or just plain blah?

Do you honestly expect to wake up each morning feeling excited about a commitment to nothing in particular?

A spicier commitment could be a long-term relationship, a business or career path, a skill set, a core area of self-development, or really anything that you consider investment-worthy. What makes you want to shove all your chips into the pot and say, “I’m all in”? If nothing comes to mind, I’d say you have an inner stature problem, and that’s likely to hurt your social life as well.

What’s fascinating is that there’s a new level of freedom found inside of a serious commitment. From the outside a commitment may look like a trap or a risk, but once you’ve moved through the self-doubt barrier and you’ve truly gone all-in, it feels marvelously freeing, even though it may still seem a little (or a lot) scary.

Some of the fear will still be with you on the other side of a commitment, but your relationship with the fear will change. Pre-commitment fear says: Wait… hang on… danger… hold on a sec… do not pass go… let’s check out more baby Yoda memes.

Post-commitment fear says: Booyah! I am the storm! This is what it means to be alive! Let’s carpe diem this to shreds! I have the power! Why the heck didn’t I do this sooner? Rise, Jedi, rise!

Post-commitment life is just way more FUN.

At this point the sense of stature takes on a more dynamic quality. I see it as true freedom of self-expression. To really express myself authentically, I have to know myself well, and I have to stand tall in alignment with who I desire to be. That narrowing of options is like going through a wormhole that opens into a vast and beautiful realm to explore on the other side. I don’t get to fully explore this delightful garden of wonder till I’ve traversed that wormhole – the one with the scary-looking entrance.

Is it a one-way wormhole only? If I go through it, will I ever be able to go back? How often do we resist those commitments which would actually lead to our truest, deepest delights?

That wormhole looks scary for a reason. It’s a test from reality to see if you’re ready to move into greater alignment, not incrementally but with a real leap of advancement. Don’t worry… you still get baby Yoda memes on the other side. But no cats!

Stature the Course

I’ve grown to really love the word stature and the fascinating array of meanings it connects with, so I’m declaring Stature to be the title of our new character sculpting deep dive course that will launch on January 1st.

Using Stature for the title popped in my mind in early November, and then I got a bunch of synchronicities about it too, which I often see as reality expressing its approval, so that gave me some extra validation that it’s the right choice for this course.

On a different note, I also like titles that are slightly disturbing. Submersion hints at a risk of drowning, for instance. Using Stature for the title is predictably going to bug some people because it may seem too old-fashioned or conservative to them. I often like titles that have such effects because they tend to be more memorable. They stick out as a little bit odd. They don’t quite behave as people expect. I like titles like that, so I’m standing tall with Stature, not that it needs my help. It’s a title that stands up on its own, and if you try to cut it down, it will just send you a baby Yoda meme in response. So I think it’s a perfect fit for our intention: to stand.

Presently we have so many elements of change swirling about our lives. We’re constantly being hit by destabilizing influences that can knock us off balance or distract us from what matters to us. It’s easy to lose one’s core sense of self in such a reality.

Stature’s invitation is for you to develop a strong and meaningful character, so you can make clear, aligned commitments and follow through on them. This can especially help with long-term consistency, which many of my readers crave. Their current stories often involve repeatedly starting over when they’d like to be building towards something. To build meaningful and fulfilling lives, we need to figure out what we stand for. What is truly commitment-worthy for us? And then we must actually stand tall as we outwardly express that commitment.

Stature will not be an easy deep dive because standing tall isn’t easy. Transitioning from NPC to Player is a challenge to be sure. This course will invite you to traverse the gap between you and YOU. Not everyone is ready to do that. Many will prefer to play with cats instead. The Stature deep dive is for those who sense that it’s finally time to stand tall and commit to something real, meaningful, bold, and courageous.

Ready to rise, are you?

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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