Clarity of purpose and direction is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. If you want to clarify your personal purpose and direction you need to do three things. First, define what success means for you. Second, create a vivid mental image of your success. Third, clarify your values.
Your values are your personal guide for day to day living. They help you make decisions in your everyday life. Values ground you – providing direction for decision making in ambiguous situations. Because I’m in business for myself, I have two sets of values – one set guides my personal life; the other, my professional life. They are complimentary, but have slightly different foci.
My personal values are…
- Always do my best.
- Treat all people with the respect and dignity they deserve as fellow human beings.
- Help others wherever and whenever I can – with no strings attached.
- Be a supportive and loving husband.
My business values are…
- I believe we too often make things more complex than they really are. I help my clients simplify the complex, and develop and implement common sense solutions to their problems and issues.
- I believe in human potential. I assist my client organizations and the individuals in them to use applied common sense to achieve their full potential.
- My clients pay a premium for my services. Therefore, I provide them with extraordinary value-added services in order to justify their faith in me.
- My clients trust me. They openly discuss their hopes, fears, problems and opportunities with me. This trust is sacred. I will not violate it.
- All of my customers are unique. I honor this uniqueness. I don’t sell one-size-fits-all consulting, coaching or speaking services. I am diligent about gaining a complete understanding of each client’s unique needs before I suggest a course of action.
I use these values as a guide for my day to day living. I do my best to conduct myself in a manner that is consistent with them. On Friday, I did a blog post in which I mentioned that I recently had an argument with my dad. I let myself get angry over a trivial matter. After I calmed down, I called my dad to apologize. I did this because one of my personal values is, “Treat all people with the respect and dignity they deserve as fellow human beings.”
By raising my voice and arguing, I was not conducting myself in accordance with one of my personal values – so I had to do something (apologize) to rectify the situation. This value of treating people with respect and dignity is so ingrained in me that I had a feeling of unease for the two days it took me to apologize for losing my temper.
That’s the way values work. They become so much a part of you that when you act in a manner inconsistent with them, you feel a little off and uncomfortable. This discomfort led me to do what I needed to do to fix the problem I had created.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are clear about what they want out of their lives and careers. They define what success means to them, personally. They create a vivid mental image of their success. And they develop a set of personal values that guide their day to day life. Values are guides to decision making in ambiguous situations. They provide you with the guidance you need as you go through life. Take a few minutes to think about what’s important to you. Write it down. Then live your life by these values. You’ll be on your way to a successful life and career.
That’s my take on personal values and success. What’s yours? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.