Creating a basis where you know your purpose, making the right decisions in life and leadership becomes easy when you know what values you live by.
Making the right decisions is only the beginning. Leading with values is important for leaders because it creates and maintains company culture, informs employee selection, guides the direction of company growth, and adds meaning to the work required to maintain the organisation. That meaning starts with the leader, and passes down to all levels of the team. In your personal life, it is the basis for your home, your family and the way in which you live your life.
However, understanding your values and doing the “right thing” isn’t simple. In fact, for all of us, it’s a lifetime challenge that requires thought and practice. So let’s talk about the definition of a value.
What is a value?
Many people think that values are ethics or morals; they’re not. Values are what is important to us, what we ‘value’, and what gives us purpose. Just as organisations have values, individuals do too. Most people have approximately 5-7 core values that identify who they are at their core. Each person’s values are unique to that person.
It’s important to note that values aren’t just for work. Values reflect who we are on a daily basis, in everything we do at home and at work. This holistic approach helps us be a leader in all aspects of our life, not just in our careers but also in our homes.
Why do I need to know my values?
Values give us our sense of purpose. On a leadership level, when we align with our values on a daily basis, we have more energy and feel more fulfilled because we are leading from what’s important to us. When we don’t align with our values, we feel less authentic and become demotivated about our daily lives, which reflects in our leadership.
Think of it as a building/structure: values are our foundation that keep us grounded in what’s important to us. The strength of the values determines the strength of the structure, and all the other elements that fills the structure. A strong structure supports the ecosystem around it; a leader with strong values supports the organisational culture.
My mom always taught me the importance of being grounded and understanding that there is a higher being, and being a good person and doing the “right” thing is key. Being mindful of “intention” is key to one’s on-going success. I always remember the saying by the Dalai Lama: ‘Open your arms to change but do not let go of your values’.
5-7 values that identifies me at the core of who I am is as follows:
Appreciation. Taking a brief moment to say, “thank you,” or acknowledging the blessings, achievements and success you have achieved to date is paramount, as it fills your soul with more passion to grow.
Exploration. The action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. Exploring and discovering forms a key part of growth, and through wanting to find out more and learn, we grow and we develop ourselves.
Devotion. Some days are just naturally better than others. It’s the same way in our interpersonal relationships and in our faith. Things can get unstable at times, but staying devoted to a higher being, or to a person through the uncertain times is our rock to grasp when things get shaky.
Commitment. Commitment shows loyalty and it can show bravery and tenacity as well. A commitment is a promise made and an expectation we have created. Honouring our commitments can make the difference between achieving what’s most important to us or feeling disappointed and defeated.
Integrity. What defines our character and our integrity is not measured by what happens to us; but rather by how we react and respond to what happens to us.
Optimism. I am a ‘glass half-full’ person. The value of optimism is clear, when your mind is positive, all areas of your life reaps the rewards – take what you have been given and make the best of it.
Vision. Vision is created by our dreams and daydreams. Vision provides the avenue to take our lives to wherever we want them to go. Our vision reminds us that we are always capable of learning and growing into who we want to be.
’Carpe Diem’, seize the day and be the best YOU can be, through knowing your values and living by them.