I was recently asked what my core values were by a graphic designer I had commissioned to do design a logo for me. He had a list of 8 questions he needed to answer to better help him understand my vision and capture its heart. I initially approached it as a formality, a tick box exercise to get to my own desired end. But as I worked through his questions, I began to realise it was so much more than that. There was a tug to slow down, be still and listen. A painless decision of surrendering to the process brought me to an unexpected place. Another reminder that obedience is not always a struggle but is always rewarded.
Meriam Webster explains Core Values as this; ‘a central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature. Something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable.
Why Personal Core Values Are Important
Values are a part of us. They are our foundation and highlight what we stand for. They can represent our unique, individual essence. Values guide our behaviour, providing us with a personal code of conduct. When we honour our personal core values consistently, we experience fulfilment. When we don’t, we are incongruent and are more likely to escape into bad habits and regress into childish behaviour to uplift ourselves.
I love Anne Loehr analogy of a tree; “Values are our roots that keep us grounded in what’s important to us. The strength of the values determines the strength of the trunk, branches, leaves and fruit from year to year. A strong tree supports the ecosystem around it; a leader with strong values supports the organizational culture”.
How do I know what my Core Values are?
There are so many guides and step by step programs to assist us with answering this question. I do love me some practical tools but I wasn’t led that route. I pondered over three days, what I stand for and why. The way in which I believe I have been created to be of service and the glory I desire my life to bring to God. The principles I’ve been willing to stand by, that shapes my direction, even if in the sight of others I may appear to be weak and gullible. Whilst in the sight of others uncompromising and rigid. The values which reflect who I am on a daily basis, in everything I do, whether at home, in business or at work. I learnt this holistic approach helps me to be a stronger leader in all aspects of my life, not just in my career.
What is important to me?
My core values are centred on the three things most important to me
- Treat those I serve the way I wish to be treated
I truly believe in life we reap what we sow and every encounter we share with another, we have an opportunity to serve them. Meet their need. Whilst we are all perfectly imperfect, there is a consciousness we all have of the way in wish we desire people to treat us. Our actions towards others should facilitate this gift and create reciprocation. There is no guarantee I will get back what I give in the way I’ve given it, but there is an inner peace in knowing I have done and given my best and that peace is what I chase
- Add value
Being an expert is not my goal, recognising my experience, perspective and a willingness to share it when it may be of benefit is. I don’t have to tackle a giant solution to the most important issue someone is dealing with. My aim is to help them with a small problem that when addressed it is life changing.
- Be the woman God has called me to be
When others see you become. See you flowing in your purpose unapologetically it transmits a green light signal. I’m always encouraged by women whom despite their challenges are bold in their pursuit of fulfilment. Intentional about going the course and finishing their race. Gracefully, yet fierce and courageous. I’m reminded I too am being used by God to be someone’s green light. Somebody somewhere needs the manifestation of my gift to ignite theirs.
I have been tested on each value several times over. Each time either not wanting to give of myself or feeling completely unworthy. But I always came back to them. I would always know aligning myself was the right thing to do. Each time I did I’d see the benefit. Whether it was an adjustment in my character or extending forgiveness, I always saw the reward.
“Rare are the handful of principles that incessantly drive us to stand even when we face the stark realization that we will likely perish in the standing. And rarer still is the person who will surrender all to protect such principles. Craig D. Lounsbrough
Discussing our values is powerful. I’d love to hear about your values, how they’ve been put to the test, and how they’ve led you through tough decisions. Please feel free to share.