Who Are You On The Inside?

Does your character (who you are) match your reputation (what people think)?

When a person observes you, either at work or in life, they can’t see what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling, but they can have a good guess by observing your behaviour. So, obviously if you have a smile on your face and you are behaving in a nice manner then you are feeling good, and thinking nice things.

However, if you have an angry look on your face, and you are behaving in a nasty manner then you are feeling bad, and thinking angry thoughts.

1. Your Character

It all comes down to character. As I’ve discussed before, who you associate with shows people what type of character you are, without even talking to you. They could be the people who you associate with at work, or in your personal life.

If we think of the environment we work in, and if a new starter joins your team, have you ever noticed how enthusiastic they are? Or, how much energy they put into their new job from when they actually start? It is at a very high level. But, then what happens?


The enthusiasm and energy that they had from the start begins to decrease, and they start to show their true character. You can first see this from the group they associate with. Eventually, they are influenced by this group either in a negative or positive way.

This may have even happened to you when you joined the company you are currently working with (remember, you work for yourself). It definitely has happened to me in the past, then I started to care less and not put as much effort in as I did from the start. I’ll tell you now, your character will either push you forward, or pull you back.

When I first started as an engineer at 16, I didn’t really have character. I just did as I was told, as did the other young engineers, and that carried on for the next 10 years or so.

I didn’t think about climbing the ladder, or having the ambition to be a leader until I was 26 years old when I just finished my degree. The principles I am sharing with you in my articles, have been a 20 year journey.

So, if you’re a young person or an experienced person and are ambitious to build a great career as a highly effective leader then you are on the right website.

You are a few steps ahead of the others who are not reading my articles as yet, and by implementing what I am sharing will only help you build your character, and ultimately your career and life.

You’ve heard the expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This is true in a lot of cases, but when it comes to character, the phrase is “it’s not what you know, it’s who you are”. You can’t manufacture your personality.

2. It Is Who You Are That Matters

You can try, but in the end your true character and personality will shine through. So, I encourage you to never try to show someone that you care about them, if you really don’t. You are lying to them, and eventually they will find you out.

That is not a good position to be in. If people can sense that you are lying to them and you are not being sincere with them by showing them you care, when you don’t, then your level of influence and trust with them will rapidly decrease.

They will not feel supported by you, or that you value them. If you truly don’t care, then you have to be honest with them and yourself.

If you want your team members, leaders, organisation, friends and family to trust you and have a strong relationship with you then you must be honest with them.

Honesty and integrity is what character is all about. If you truly don’t care for something, be honest about it. If you truly do care for something, be honest about it. It’s not about what you know, it’s who you are and how much you care.

It’s very hard work to portray an image of happiness when we are feeling angry or sad.

When I talk about honesty and integrity, what I really mean is someone who thinks, says and acts in exactly the same way. It is not congruent between all three. They must also make decisions that are based on excellent ethics and evidence.

3. How Honest Are You?

In 2006 when I worked with the Liverpool train operating company, my engineering director sponsored me for my degree on the second day I met him. But, what I really loved about him was, what he thought, what he felt, what he said and what he did were all the same.

That is what I mean by being congruent all the way through, and because he was congruent, he showed very strong character.

He didn’t just “talk the talk”, he “walked the walk”. His actions spoke louder than his words, and that is why he is now a CEO in a London train operating company.

So, when it comes to a role model, he is definitely one of mine. I want to follow his example of being in alignment with my thoughts, my feelings, my words, my actions and my beliefs.

If I can do this on a daily basis, then I will give myself the best foundation to build trust and increase my influence with my teammates, my leaders, my organisation, my friends and my family. And, if you do exactly the same and model me, then you will have exactly the same results.

If you “talk the talk” and walk the walk”, then your trust and influence with people will only increase, and those people will want to follow your example and model you.

If you “talk the talk” and don’t “walk the walk”, then inevitably your trust and influence with people will only decrease, and those people will not see you as an example or a role model. This is all about character building.

At the moment, if you can “talk the talk” (saying what you are going to do) but you can’t “walk the walk” (doing what you have just said) then that is ok, as long as you acknowledge that and are honest with yourself.

You can work on your “walk” and turn it around so that eventually you can “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”, that is what it means to build your character.

4. How Many Promises Have You Broken?

Another level to building on your character is what you stay committed to. How many commitments or promises do you break? Are you a trust builder or a trust destroyer? What do you care about? Who do you care about?

What and who you care about is very important when it comes to other people. If you show that you care by thinking, feeling, saying and acting in a congruent way, then your ability to influence will be much better.


Throughout your career, you will have in the past and will do in the future work with and meet people who have the same qualifications, experience and ambitions as you do.

However, it is likely that you will end up in different places. One of you may be successful, have a great career and live a great life. One of you may stay exactly where you are now, have a mediocre career and just exist in this life. Why do you think that is?


Your character is “Who you are on the inside, and what others see on the outside”. Your teammates, leaders, organisation, friends and family all have their own opinions of you through your character. Build your character, so that you give them the best chance of having a good opinion of you.

What people think of us is how our reputations are formed. What kind of reputation do you want?

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

18 thoughts on “Who Are You On The Inside?

  1. I am always honest or as my grandfather says ” I am honest with my version of the truth.” He says that all people have their own version of the truth so that they are honest by their own convictions. So in that way many people are honest or at least they believe they are. Have you ever called a thief a thief? They deny everything because they believe they are honest people. Somehow they are convinced just because they steal does not make them a bad person. The mind is very interesting indeed.

    1. Hi Brianna,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s good to hear that you are always honest with your own version of the truth.

      I appreciate your thoughts on honesty and the truth. Keep working on that and if you need any help then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,


  2. Hi Tom,
    This is another great article. It is strange, though, that although I am honest and I walk the talk (it is one of my principles), and I get along fine with my colleagues, I find many people always try to hurt me for some silly reason (or usually no reason). It has happened in the past; the colleagues who bullied me are no longer working with us, and so now things are much better for me.
    I just think that perhaps many people feel intimidated by others who are honest and who do what they say, and therefore they try to hurt them? Or perhaps I have just known the wrong people 😉

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

      It is a difficult issue for people when working others. There is the spark of jealousy in people if they see someone getting ahead or doing something well. But, as you say, you may have been bullied because you were honest. It is strange as you say, but it does happen. Glad to hear things are a lot better for you now.

      Keep returning , keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


      1. Thank you very much Tom for this great article!
        I agree with you and think that to be a great leader is a big responsibility because a leader will create a certain atmosphere in a company. And how can it be discouraging and hard to work in the community where the boss doesn’t respect his or her co-workers and makes go to a work as a torture for everyone. It is so important to be honest with people and respect them, and I think this is number 1 must – do for a future leader.
        All the best,

        1. Hi Alex,

          Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

          You are so right, it is so important to be honest with people and show them respect when leading them in a team or a community. If we try to pull the wool over people’s eyes then we will be found out, we will never get away with it. I have seen this happen many, many times.

          Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

          All the best,


  3. Love this article and I agree with everything you said. Being honest (both to yourself and others) and keeping your word are so important, and of course, they reflect to your reputation.
    Great article!

    1. Hi Tatjana,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased you love the article.

      You are so right, being honest (both to yourself and others) and keeping your word are so important to your reputation.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  4. Hi Tom, I love reading your articles they really run true. I have come across a book lately that really inspired me and goes along with being our true self and your article. “As a Man Thinketh -James Allen.
    Regards Barry

    1. Hi Barry,

      Thank you for your comment. It is so inspiring to me that you love the articles, it just makes me want to keep going. I really appreciate your support.

      I have read “As a Man Thinketh” when I was in school. Our teacher wanted to teach us how to be our true selves too. I love that you have shared this book, it is so inspiring.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  5. This is definitely “food for thought”. We all want people to think we are better than we are (or maybe better than we think we are) but to be a braggart or make promises we can’t or don’t intend to keep will be found out in short order. This will cause a loss in trust, which is difficult to get back. Thank you for laying it all out in black and white.

    The only thing I would add to this: If there comes a time when you don’t walk the walk, for whatever reason, the best remedy is to just admit your mistake to those you have let down.

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that this article gives you food for thought.

      You are absolutely right, trust is the foundation of leadership and without it there is no leadership. By admitting our mistakes and being vulnerable with our people is how we can gain trust back, just as you say.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  6. Great article! I agree we should all walk the walk! This article you have shared is so important for success! Thanks for sharing! Best wishes.

    1. Hi Alyse,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that the article was valuable to you.

      It is my pleasure to keep sharing.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. Hi Tom,

    Another fantastic article here and you’ve really got me thinking.

    I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not, but I’m someone who typically wears their heart on their sleeve, i.e. what you see is what you get.

    So, people always pretty much know how and what I’m feeling without the need for me to open my mouth,

    I discovered this from a young age and therefore I realised there was no point in me trying to hide my feelings or to try to be something I wasn’t.

    I believe over time it has served me well.

    However, on occasions, especially those involving dispute and disagreements, I was honest enough to say how I felt, but perhaps this wasn’t always the best thing to do at the time.

    Anyway, as always a thoroughly enjoyable read.


    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that the article got you thinking, that was my aim with all of my articles.

      I think it’s good to wear your heart on your sleeve and be yourself. Especially if you are in a leadership position, you want your people to trust you and if they don’t know who you are because you behave differently at different times and try to deceive people then you will not be trusted. However, if you are transparent with people and are your true self, then it will be a lot easier for people to trust you.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences, I believe people will be able to resonate with them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  8. Hi, Tom

    You have noticed I became a loyal reader of your blog.
    This is another great post.

    When I reached section “it is who you are that matters” of your post I remembered Jim Morrison’s quote that said: “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are”.

    It’s really to our advantage as a leader to stay as we are instead of presenting a personality that is contrary to our true personality.

    It’s like you said, the day people will see that we are not trustworthy our level of influence and trust with them will rapidly decrease.

    I appreciate the effort he put into creating this inspiring post.

    Keepup the great work.

    1. Hi Sebastian,

      Thank you for your comment, and thank you so much for becoming a loyal reader of my blog. It really does mean a lot.

      I’m so pleased that this article resonated with you, and that it reminded you of Jim Morrison. I am a huge fan of him too and his words.

      I will keep doing my best to inspire people through my posts.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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