I’m reading the book Chasing Relevance, which is focused on ways to more fully engage the Millennial generation. There’s plenty of important takeaways in this book that I’ll probably write about another time, but the other day I was struck by a small section on clarifying one’s personal values.
The author, Dan Negroni, asserts that values “are not what you ‘value’—like hard work, family, and security. Those are passions and skills you may value in others. Values are your real-deal-no-BS-what-you-are-made-of principles or standards of behavior. Know what you and your business stand for first. What are your values?” Negroni then lists his own values as “empowering others to make a difference, learning and satisfying my curiosity, creating value for others and enabling their growth, and making meaningful connections.”
He writes, “It sounds so easy and obvious, right? So why can’t so many of us do it? Because most of us have not been conditioned to express those real-deal-no-BS-what-you-are-made-of principles. We’re taught to suppress them. We express our company’s values as our own, instead of aligning what we value as individuals with the company.”
I was on an airplane traveling to Maine while reading this content. Since air travel is often where I do some of my best reflecting, Negroni prompted me to get clear on my own values. I believe I’m already embracing and implementing these each day, but it was encouraging for me to take the time to write them out. Here they are:
* Becoming more self-aware and joyful through ongoing mindfulness practices.
* Being kind and loving to people first and foremost, before any other agenda.
* Taking good care of people and resources that are entrusted to me.
* Learning as much as I can across disciplines, cultures, and geographies.
* Writing prose that echoes what human beings experience.
* Coaching and equipping people in a way that helps them thrive.
I’m intending to reflect on my values on a daily basis. My hope is that during moments (or even days) when I don’t feel quite like “myself,” when I’m discouraged or distracted and questioning the purpose of everything, these values will keep me grounded and help me to re-focus.
I encourage you to try this exercise for yourself. What do you stand for? What are you made out of? I’d love to hear from you.