Values are those often talked about, even more often abused things by mediocre corporations but rarely understood parts of our personal DNA and early nurturing. Those things that collectively define who we are as a human being. Knowing and sticking to your values can keep you healthy, happy and successful…and doing otherwise can lead to a life of regret.
What are Values?
Values can be best described as the things in your life that you will not compromise on (Honesty, integrity, professionalism, morals, etc.) or that you hold dear to the heart – whether that be a person, object, or ideal. They are different for everyone yet they make up the building blocks for successful relationships and cultures.
Why Values Matter in Business
A glut of organizations out there today are mediocre because they usually have no vision or purpose that aligns with the general values of their people. Additionally, they do not pay close enough attention to the values alignment of the people they recruit. The organization’s culture develops a multiple personality disorder (the corporate version of DID?) because no one knows where the company is going or how they are going to get there. The marketplace then becomes confused and finds it difficult to form emotional connections with the company. The results? Poor results to target and a management team that then resorts to radical behaviour, constantly changing plans and direction and, blame – usually focused upon the very team that they are supposed to be leading.
How to Find and Stick To Your Values
To get some insights into what your values are in life I offer these steps…
1. Chase your passion, not your pension! What is it that you cannot wait to get out of bed to do? Watch children for the best lesson in passion. They play harder and laugh louder when they are doing something they love – they have a melt-down when they are asked to do something they don’t want to do. They eat the center of the bread and the icing of the cake first because it tastes better. When you chase your passion, it doesn’t seem like work anymore.
2. Go for a long walk by yourself. Ask yourself questions like; “What is important to me? What could I absolutely not live without in my life? What could I live without?” If you went on a long trip and were only allowed to bring a few things, what would they be?
3. When you are under stress, ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do? Is it because you are being asked to do something that you do not agree with?
4. Go on the web and search for a Values Checklist to get you started. The checklist will a collection of beliefs. Select 10 values that you think are important to you. Then take that list and narrow it down by half to five. Then edit it down to three, then two, then one. What you will see is how easy it is to cast off certain values and how hard it is to get down to the final one. Once you are there, make a vow with yourself that you will never violate those values which are most important to you. Ever!
5. Look for a company that aligns with your values. Find a “Great place to work,” one that values what you have to contribute. You may have to take a cut in pay but believe me, when you are working with an organization that aligns with your values, you will be WAY more successful and in the long run, more prosperous.
Once you have figured out what is important to you in your life and what you want to do, build a plan for getting there. Make the plan achievable and built-in steps you can handle – some people will walk away cold turkey from a situation that is violating their values, for others, there need to be baby steps. But one thing for sure is that when you are living a life by your own design, one that aligns with your values, you will be happier, less stressed, healthier, you will eat better, sleep better, have more energy, laugh more and have better relationships.
Robert Murray is a Key Note Speaker, International CXO, Executive Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”
Featured photo by VinothChandar