According to Computer Knowledge, in the year 2000, there were fifty-thousand known computer viruses. Within eight years, that number grew to over one million. Protecting your computer from alien saboteurs is now a 24/7, 365-days task that you have probably entrusted to a software company—that is dealing with its own vulnerabilities.

It’s too bad there isn’t a software program that will protect one’s character. Without staying alert to the threats, character viruses can wreak havoc on a relationship or a career. Professional life has an accompanying vulnerability that is often overlooked; but you can’t afford to.

There is no simple solution. Character protection must be done manually. Your daily decisions and actions can inadvertently open your life to a character virus attack. As your friend, let me suggest a few things you can do to provide a layer of protection.

  • Monitor your media. Streaming media means that a “stream” of ideas and ideals are constantly coming into your life. But of course not all of them compliment your value system. Watch what you watch. Listen to what you are listening to. Contemplate your next Internet “click.”
  • Grow your faith. Live your life within the parameters of your beliefs. And use its tenants as caution lights for your “online” or “offline” behavior. Your “wills” and your “won’ts” will directly affect your professional life.
  • Enlist an accountability partner. Choose someone with whom you can confide—one who will not only keep your confidence, but will also warn you of hidden land mines.
  • Prioritize relationships. Address relational problems with your spouse first, rather than with a third party. Seek to solve family problems before they balloon or bust. Happiness in the home directly influences happiness in the workplace.
  • Keep a check on stress. Overwork and over-worry are overloads than can break you over time. Remember, you are the gatekeeper of your calendar and To-Do list. If you don’t have a hobby or outside interest, find one. It doesn’t have to be your full time job, but it can be your part time friend, and bring some calm to your full time.

Leave the tigers in the cage. Don’t take your professional “tigers” home with you. Your tasks and challenges will still be there when you return to the office. Deal with them tomorrow; but for tonight, let them roam free.

It’s not too late to run a character security scan. The threats you identify and remove will protect both your personal and professional life. It really is better to be safe than sorry!

–Stan Toler