Living your personal values leads you to live an authentic life that you will enjoy and be proud of, but it certainly isn’t always easy. I’ve had to let some great professional opportunities, old friends, and other valuable things go because they didn’t, or no longer, aligned with my values.
Today we’ll all look at three areas to consider as you think about your own personal values and how you can leverage them to be a great leader in your own personal life journey.
Understand what your personal Values are
When you live out your values at home and in your community, you have a strong sense of those qualities, behaviors, and beliefs that are truly important to you. It’s not uncommon to have a lack of clarity in our own values. Perhaps you’ve never really thought about it, or perhaps they are very broad – think “respect, kind, friendly” If you think about corporate Values, the best are short and to the point but they cover a very specific position. (Instead of the general term Justice, they may have Embrace Accountability) That focus helps you create a strong moral compass to latch on to.
If you need assistance in narrowing down those behaviors and traits that are important to you do this exercise over a week. Take time to write down a few things that:
- Made you feel good or gave you a sense of satisfaction
- Made you sad or gave you pause or regret
- What others did that you admired or inspired you
- What others did that you would not want to emulate
- Made you feel useful, impactful, or valuable
This list should naturally bubble up some themes for you of behaviors, traits, and aspects that you are drawn towards as well as those things that you don’t want to be associated with. Now take those themes a step further and think about the root of those behaviors. You likely just found some of your personal values. Write them out and don’t limit them to just a word or two if you need more. Mine are more statements that a single word that you’ll find in many organizations. Some of mine include:
- Put others above yourself
- Embrace accountability in what you commit to
- Do what’s right for others even when it’s difficult
Leverage your Values in your decisions
Your personal values drive should drive a lot of your decision-making. They help you in deciding what kind of job to take, what company to work for, who you befriend, what kind of content you consume, and more. Your values influence the small decisions throughout the day, (Who you follow online, how you spend your breaks, etc) and the big ones (Your long-term companion, how and where you invest your money, etc) to really everything in between.
When you get to those decisions that don’t seem easy – maybe they are complex, or really large in impact – Take a moment to pause and ask yourself how they align with your Values. Is this a good match? Is this what I want to be associated with?
You can probably recall a circumstance where you felt remorse or regret because you made a choice that was not consistent with your values. Don’t beat yourself up too much about it, it happens to all of us. Instead, learn from it and keep moving forward.
Check in to ensure that those you associate with are still aligned
Similar to our show Can you turn into a bad boss? (EP 348) It’s rare to make up one morning and decide to ditch all of your morals suddenly. What can happen though is a slow drift away from your internal values until a person finds themselves aligned with things that they never thought that they would be. There are many ways that the groups, associations, and people that you know can pull you away from your values without you knowing until it’s too late.
- Mob mentality – The act of neglecting a person’s own feelings, instincts, and logic to adopt the behavior and actions around them.
- Political groups – Groups that change their agenda as time passes. You may have been aligned at some point, but like mob mentality, become loyal to the group so much so that it overrides your own individual sense of values.
- Friends – People are always changing and life events only compound those changes. Are the friends that you associate yourself with still adding value to them or have they become toxic to your well-being?
- What are you consuming? – The internet is an echo chamber of its own making with many apps and sites pushing and nudging your content based on what you take an initial interest in. Be aware of the technological tug that may be pulling you in a direction you don’t need to go in, or perhaps excluding the direction that you should be heading towards.
Do a check-in with yourself from time to time to ensure that the categories above and other areas of influence for you are still aligned. While it may be difficult, letting go of those things that draw you away from your values will be a worthwhile effort.
Lean into the Values as you lead yourself, your friends, and your family. You will feel a higher level of satisfaction and value in what you do day in and day out, and you’ll like be building lasting relations while making a difference in others as a result.
Make a better tomorrow.