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Values to Live by

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”

A few years ago I decided that in order to work on my behaviors and habits I had to go a step deeper and figure out what my values were that made me the person that I am.  Franklin Covey talks about this in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People“.  I started by listing out all the things that I loved about the people that were close to me and what I thought people liked about me.  The list was long but I eventually narrowed it down to ten and just last year I brought it down to eight.

Follow me for a second.

My overall goal with this was to be able to add value to those around me.  But I couldn’t do that unless people trusted my opinion, and they can’t trust my opinion if my position on certain things changed all the time.  My opinions (or values) had to be sound and people had to be aware that these are the things that I stood for.

So, eight core values.  Values, that if I focused on these, they would act as my guide on all the controversial issues that I encounter.  When an situation comes up, I could turn to these values and see if the action I’m about to take is aligned with these values.  If they weren’t then I didn’t participate.

My values:

  • Reliability
  • Integrity
  • Love
  • Understanding
  • Balance
  • Unity
  • Goodwill
  • Excellence

Now I’ll go into each of these in more detail in later blog posts but for now, my focus is to share with you how I work on these.

Once you have decided on which values you want to live by, you’ll have to purposefully plan out instances were you could perform these values.  You have to set the stage to take on these tasks.   Its not enough to just say you’ll work on these everyday when “something” comes up.  It doesn’t work that way, believe me I tried that.  What I do is focus on one value a week and then I try to put myself in a situation where this value will be put to the test.

For example, Understanding.  I would search my life to find a place where maybe I’m not understanding someone or something, and I would make it my goal for that week to seek out the understanding that I was looking for.  It could be a sincere talk with someone in whom I had a fight with, or making a call to fully understand the position a client was coming from.  I would journal, question, research, whatever I had to do to satisfy the practice of understanding.

I thought that even if I focused on one of these for one week a year, that was better than just waiting for something to happen and to hope I would remember to act accordingly.  So at any given week, you could count on me working on one of these, trying to build my character one value at a time.

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up.  What he needs is education to turn him around.”  – Jim Rohn.

What do you stand for?




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