Originally published at https://www.articulate.ventures on November 24, 2020.

Miriam Hoffman is the type of individual that when you collide with her, you won't be able to help but receive a budding motivation to do what you can to promote her along her path. Miriam has a unique blend of humility and confidence that gives her a clear edge when it comes to her personal development. She's also recently become one of 6 National FFA officers and the first out of Illinois in 14 years. After watching her journey to this incredible achievement inside the AVN as she opened herself up to feedback and criticism to prepare for the competition, our whole community is ecstatic to continue to follow Miriam as she serves as the Eastern Region Vice President for the next year.

In this new series of AVN member Skyhooks, we're going to take the opportunity to highlight member achievements on no set schedule and relate them to ideas that we discuss inside the network. Because of Miriam's unique blend of humility and confidence, a noteworthy idea that came to mind is to plot these traits on a character flywheel, a concept pioneered by James Collins in his book Good to Great where he describes it in the following way —

No matter how dramatic the end result, good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop. In building a great company or social sector enterprise, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond. — Jim Collins

Amateur philosopher and friend of the network, Rob Long took Collins's flywheel concept and applied it to his own character to create what he calls his Stoic Flywheel. Long's flywheel consists of the following repeating cycle based on what he notes to be his core virtues, wisdom and courage —

  1. use wisdom to determine worthy goals
  2. use courage to accomplish those goals
  3. use transcendence to view the result of achieving the goal, which generates new wisdom
  4. return to the first step

Taking this same idea and mapping instead to Miriam's standout blend of humility and confidence, we can build a very similar character model —

  1. use humility to seek room for improvement
  2. use confidence to make those improvements
  3. use transcendence to view the result of having improved, which generates new humility
  4. return to the first step

When looking at the above 2 models, the pairings of wisdom with courage and humility with confidence look like synonyms. Knowing the terms individually however, and especially Miriam and Rob as individuals who embody these traits, the distinction becomes increasingly clear.

In a way, humility and wisdom are dichotomies. Rob has the wisdom to choose a course of action and know what challenges it may bring. He then has the courage to move forward despite these challenges. Take this opposite to Miriam who has the humility to see opportunities to promote growth, and she has this humility in tandem with the confidence or self assurance to pursue these opportunities. It is appreciable all the same that modeling both against a flywheel is a vivid way to understand how these two continue to make strides in their character development.

The fun question then becomes —

What are your flywheel traits?

To connect with a community of growth-oriented individuals like Miriam and Rob, check out the Articulate Ventures Network. We are a patchwork of thinkers that want to articulate ideas in a forum where they can be respectfully challenged, improved and celebrated so that we can explore complex subjects, learn from those we disagree with and achieve our personal & professional goals.