In doing my research on my theory of Crappertunity, the moment where crisis generates more opportunity than would have existed without the crisis, I keep stumbling on a major theme. Values are the compass individual and companies use to guide their journeys. Unfortunately, too many lie about their why. They justify what they are doing to society, to their colleagues, to the board, all while ignoring the internal compass that says no no no.
I wrote about values and beliefs in my Carson Now column today, a column I write for a local news site in Carson City, Nevada. In the column, I talk about my mom, how she had to reinvent herself at age 46 after her divorce. She was married 25 years, a housewife, and had to do it all again from scratch. Growing up with this influence, this resilience, I was inspired.
What I Believe
I believe we all have the power to impact, change, and improve what happens in our lives. I believe we are not victims of our circumstances. Rather, those circumstances can benefit us and the world, if we allow it. We can be called to reinvent ourselves at any time. I value connection, with myself and others, and to maintain that bond no matter how rough the seas get. I value integrity, and not letting my solution be someone else’s pain. I value intense passion for life and career. The two to me are not separable. I believe in the power plant of personal growth and how it can change lives and the world.
Some of these values I formed growing up. Others I formed as a result of my own struggles and life experience. But here are seven reasons why values matter.
Values are more than just about Sunday school.
Sure, that’s where some of us learned them. However, what we value is really our truth. We have to know our truth to turn on that internal GPS, make decisions, have confidence, and take action. Without clarity on our values, we turn into people pleasers. When we people please, we cheat people out of knowing who we really are. We cross and break boundaries we didn’t even know we had. Values are life.
Values help you choose a partner.
Life partners can have different hobbies, different ideas about the world, and differing preferences. But where a relationship can fall into trouble is when the values are off kilter. Questioning employees, colleagues, friends, romantic interests, and partners about their values is an exercise in understanding and alignment.
Values dictate happiness in a career.
Have you ever said, my heart’s just not in it? I have. And when I have, for example, when I was working in corporations in marketing and I did not believe in what I was promoting, I was unhappy. My value of integrity butted up against what my job required me to do. Look at your company’s annual report. If they don’t have one, ask them questions about their company values. You will find out quick if you are a fit or not.
Values help you have more fun.
When you are in alignment with your values, life is just more fun in general. If you value peace, you may notice you enjoy peaceful activities. If you value learning, you may find yourself learning for fun. But the point is this. If you know your values, you can be real with yourself about what you enjoy and what you don’t.
Values focus you.
When you know your values, you can laser focus and measure your activities against them. When I coach a company while they are doing their strategic plans, I talk to them about the company culture they want to cultivate. I help them discover this because these values dictate hiring practices, company strategies, and how the company behaves in a crisis.