What are Your Core Values?
How long has it been since you’ve defined your core values? Your core values are the principles that are at the root of everything you do, both personally and professionally. When circumstances change, your core values should be consistent and provide the stability that will sustain you through not only difficult times, but the good times as well.
A strong work ethic that gets me up early has been one of my basic core values and that value is not dependent on a particular project or even the amount of work I have in front of me. If you have the core value of hospitality, it is far-reaching both personally and professionally as this can be demonstrated not only in a home, but with the culture you create in an office.
Core values are not set in stone. They can shift and change through time, but it is helpful to consistently define them and keep them top-of-mind. We will cover five areas where defining your core values will help you, both personally and professionally: With priorities, relationships, Purpose, time and legacy. I go deeper in the Appendix of the book Stop Circling, where we cover the layers of two areas: faith and character.
Core Values Keep You Focused on Your Priorities
How long has it been since you’ve identified and focused on your main priorities? If you have raised a family, you understand all too well how your priorities shift the moment that new little baby arrives. If you don’t make him or her a priority, you will very soon with sleepless nights, decisions on schooling, activities and friends.
Then as your children grow, your main commitment to them may not shift, but the time and effort it takes be a part of their lives shifts. They don’t need you as much with hands-on involvement, which may or may not be a good thing, but the end goal is launching them as self-sustaining adults. (See: Life Choices)
The main point is that your priorities of involvement and effort shift at different times of your life, but your core values should stay consistent. With adult kids, Greg and I still remain committed to staying connected with our kids, though in a different way. (See: Family Holidays) The core value of empowering others to use their gifts and abilities applies nicely to launching kids as well as coaching clients. The principle is the same, just with a different subject.
Core Values Determine Your Close Relationships
Your close circle of contacts are extremely valuable as they will help you not only gain focus, but keep your focus. Your close circle influences many decisions including your friendships, your marriage, your career choices, your travel choices and many other areas. It’s extremely beneficial if those in your close circle are aligned with your core values.
You may want to establish some sort of lifetime group. I speak about this in my Women at Halftime book. Some years ago, my husband had taken a new job and my main circle of contacts had changed. I was feeling disconnected. I knew I wanted to have a group of women around me that would help me stay accountable with not only my personal and business goals, but spiritual. So I hand-picked some trusted contacts for a small group I wanted to continue to spend regular time with. I specifically chose those that were all within about an hour or so apart, but this doesn’t always need to be the case with online access. I just like the personal connection and feel it’s very valuable.
I recently planned a half-day mini-retreat at our home and the four of us spent hours going through our updates and goals. We shared meals together, ate way too much chocolate, then ended our evening with a quick game of pickleball and time in the jacuzzi. We are fortunate to carve out one time of the year to do this. This group continues to be of great value in my life as we not only share our professional lives, but our personal with kids and now grandkids. Our core values are aligned spiritually so we continue to also pray for each other, which I consider a beautiful gift in my life. It takes work, thought and some effort to put a group like this together, but is well worth it.
Core Values Determine the Purpose of Your Business
The main root of your business will be heavily determined by your core values and purpose. If one of your core values is to make lots of money, your purpose will be focused more on sales, marketing and growing your business quickly. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s an admirable goal especially for those who want to break out of poverty and for those who have the temperament to withstand the pressure. But that value can be empty in and of itself.
If one of your core values is to make a positive difference in people’s lives, your purpose will be focused more on influence and helping others succeed. This can be demonstrated in the type of training you provide, your giving to organizations or even starting a non-profit that will benefit those less fortunate. There are many avenues to realize this value.
Your core values also influence your personal integrity in running your business. Honesty, follow-through, fairness and a strong work ethic will all be communicated by your actions and messaging. A good test is to look at your branding statement and determine what message you’re really communicating. Southwest Airlines is committed to loving their passengers. You see hearts everywhere in airports and on their literature.
Core Values Determine Your Time Management
How you spend your time is directly influenced by your core values. If your core values include a strong work ethic as an early riser, you will manage your day differently than the person that lets their day manage them. You don’t have to be an early riser to have a strong work ethic, but have a workable plan that will work with your schedule and lifestyle. (FREE Core Values Download)
With our recent year of shutdowns, remote work became the norm and working at home with kids under foot was challenging for many. Setting boundaries was important to get professional work done. But a mindset readjustment was necessary to keep family priorities in focus without letting them take over. Even those with good intentions will have a hard time following through unless they adapt and adhere to a strong core value.
When situations change, whether working remotely or changing jobs, the application of your core values may adjust. But the value itself will serve as the footers to a strong foundation.
Core Values Determine Your Legacy Plan
Many start thinking more about their purpose and core values when entering the second half of life, especially if they have worked hard at building a career and a business and are ready for a change. They realize that now is the time to create more significance and make the world a better place for the next generation because they may not have a later.
How do you want people to remember you? It doesn’t take long for what you’ve done or accomplished to be forgotten and pushed aside. But the person you are, your character, will far outlast your accomplishments.
Disney’s Carousel of Progress was a must see in every visit to Disneyland when I was growing up. The rotating theater attraction that showed the advancement of technology in the 20th century is now very dated and has been replaced. Technology now moves extremely fast with computer processing speed doubling every eighteen months or so. There would be no practical way to update Disney’s attraction that quickly. But Disney’s core values to entertain, inform and inspire is always at the forefront of all their attractions.
Core Values Affect Your Happiness
There is a tremendous peace of mind to be had when your core values are set. It takes away the anxious scattered feeling and that is better than many therapy sessions. I encourage you to spend some time thinking through your core values. Pick three short statements or even three words that speak of your values. Notice Disney’s are different words but they are connected to their main message and that comes through every attraction and location.
Remember, you can modify the wording. But usually it’s a couple tweaks or terms that change. Your values will help to establish a strong, solid base we all need to move into our future with contentment, happiness and satisfaction.
Your Core Values will establish a strong base for your future
with contentment, happiness and satisfaction.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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