Posts Tagged ‘values’

It’s a question I get asked so often and the answer is really simple. Having clarity about what your values are and why they are important to you makes decision making easier, makes you stronger and most importantly it lets people know that you have integrity and consistency.

In today’s uncertain world knowing that someone stands for something counts for a huge amount. We often talk about the concept of Brand You in business today. Brand You is not just about your logo, or your title or your profession or even your business name or how you look. Its all of these, but in addition, what it really means is that everything you do and everything you say, positive and negative, is part of Brand You.

When you are crystal clear on your values it is much easier to stay in integrity and not allow anything to taint your brand, simply because you know who you are and what you stand for, and perhaps most importantly, who you stand with. Because if you say one thing, and then endorse people who stand for its opposite, your brand is instantly tarnished. 

This might be hard at first. You might have to upset some people and you might have to change a few allegiances. You might feel you are missing out on opportunities and losing touch with the “cool” crowd. You also might feel vulnerable, letting people know who you really are and what you stand for can feel really scary at first. You might feel exposed and all alone. But in the long run it’s much less stressful than pretending to be someone you’re not, compromising what you believe for the sake of expediency and living your life on shifting sands.

In the long run like attracts like and you will draw to you others who share your values. Leaders do what they say they will do and by doing that they attract other leaders to help them.

So do you want to be in with the cool crowd? Or do you want to run with the leaders?

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Its so easy to be cynical but how about replacing every cynical thought with a positive one just for a few days! Go on, it’s Christmas!

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People often accuse me of being idealistic when I talk about how businesses should function in the 21st Century. I’m very happy to say that its true because lets face it, why would anyone set goals or visions for their future based on anything other than their ideal world?

And anyway, business as usual has not exactly produced great results for a lot of people. Its not a sustainable way to live or work and if we are to create a better world for our children we need to start taking responsibility for doing things differently. There is no point in whining about how hard things are unless you are prepared to change from within. We’re well into the 21st Century now so its time we acted a little more evolved! I call it Business As Unusual.

In an ideal world all businesses should be run with the intention of enriching everyone they touch. They should be ethical and honorable and they should strive to lift up their profession instead of trying to beat down the competition. In an ideal world there is no competition because there is more than enough business to go round. And why should anyone have to spend their precious time working in a niche they are not truly passionate about? In an ideal world there are no competitors, only collaborators – other people who we know are brilliant at what they do who we can refer business to with complete confidence because we know that they will do the same for us.

In an ideal world people are willing to pay for brilliant service because they know they will get value – and we know this because they share the same values with us. In an ideal world we know that enriching the people who supply our businesses ultimately enriches our business. In an ideal world people are not just looking to score a quick buck but to create powerful long term relationships and provide exceptional service.

In an ideal world we only work with people who share these higher values and we hold each other accountable to the highest standards. We work together to share ideas and knowledge and grow together to create a better future for us all.

I’m working towards creating that ideal world. Are you?

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What do you really value in your life?

Its an important question because often when we are not getting the results we want in life its because we haven’t checked that what we think we want is truly compatible with our values.

For example, its really easy to say we want success in business, lets face it who doesn’t? But what does that success really mean? And what do you need to prioritise in order to get it?

If you are really honest with yourself you might realise that you value having a low stress lifestyle above having a high powered career so is it any wonder that is the result you are getting?

Being really honest with yourself sometimes means breaking away from the herd and deciding to prioritise what you want, not what you were brought up to think you want!

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I don’t actually have to be here writing this today! You see WordPress gave us a day off after they had a server meltdown (or something equally technical that I am so glad someone else understands!) and no one could post yesterday! All of us brave (or crazy) souls who are signed up to the Postaday2011 Challenge couldn’t post last night and had to wait till the morning, so in theory I’ve already done today’s post.

Except that I promised when I signed up for Postaday2011 that I would blog every day. And even though no one is going to come and tell me off if I don’t, a promise is a promise and I value my integrity. So having made the promise I’ll need a much better excuse than that to renege on it!

But here’s the thing – while most of us don’t routinely break promises we make to other people, how often do we break promises we make to ourselves? We promise ourselves we will eat healthier, exercise more, be kind to ourselves, give ourselves time to relax and have fun, treat ourselves to a manicure, whatever. But if something gets in the way its our promises to ourselves that always get broken first!

If you had a friend who broke their promises to you as often, would you continue to consider them a friend?

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Here’s a couple of interesting exercises around values that can be very enlightening.

Firstly, look at the big list that you started with – Steve Pavalina‘s one is great and very comprehensive! Now pull out from that list all the ones that you are repelled by and narrow that list down to about ten. This list is useful for a number of reasons. Sometimes the things you are repelled by are actually things you need to learn – I know that sounds pretty challenging and its meant to be! Your Inner Reptile will steer you well away from anything it thinks might encourage you to change too much! So look at those ten values again and ask yourself honestly what could you actually use more of in your life. Also these values may be the source of challenges you have with other people in your life, if someone holds a value that repels you it may well be hard for you to connect with this person, but again, they may well have something great to teach you, and you them! Now imagine what your life would be like if you gave these values a higher priority. How would your results change, for the better, or maybe worse?

Secondly, take the same big list and pull out all the values you wish you had. That may sound wierd, surely if you wish you had it, it must be a value for you – but if you were honest in the very first list you made you will be aware that there were some things that you wanted to put on your list, but knew in your heart were not you – for me tidyness is a good example – I would love to be tidy, I have fantasies of waking up one morning as Martha Stewart but I know its not going to happen! Look at this list and again imagine how your life would change if you decided to make these values a priority, some of the answers might surprise you!

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“Man is unique in that he has plans, purpose and goals which require the need for criteria of choice. The need for ethical value is within man whose future may largely be determined by the choice he make” – George Bernard Shaw

How you understand your own personal value system is crucial in helping you make good powerful choices in your life and career. There’s some pretty exhaustive lists online if you Google values, so I’m not going to list them here. Once you’ve found a list you like – I like Steve Pavalina’s list but its pretty huge – the first step is to go through the it and pick out the values that you feel are relevant to you. It is, as always, really important to be honest with yourself here. You really don’t ever have to share this list with anyone so if you know one of your values is extravagance but you know the people around you would be impressed if you put frugality, go with what you feel – this is not about impressing people! Go through the list quickly and take the ones that jump out at you, if you have to agonise about any of them then it probably isn’t for you, even though you might wish it was! Now you have a big list in front of you its time to get a bit ruthless – go through it again and drop everything that you don’t feel really passionate about and keep doing this until you have a list of about 10. These are your core values.

Now its time to put them in order – look at the first two on your list and ask yourself the question – if I had to choose between 1 and 2 which would I choose? If its 2, put that at the top of your list and 1 at the bottom. Keep going through the list until you have compared them all. Now you have your list in order. If you always make choices based on these values in this order you always act in congruence with your true nature.

Tomorrow we can look at why acting in congruence is important.

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