I just finished reading a very interesting book called The President’s Club. It’s the story of a very small and elite club – ex US Presidents. One passage in the book really struck me. It was a diary entry George H W Bush made the night he lost the presidency to Bill Clinton. I think it demonstrates remarkable strength of character.
“Now to bed, prepared to face tomorrow. Be strong, be kind, be generous of spirit, be understanding and let people know how grateful you are. Don’t get even. Comfort the ones I’ve hurt and let down. Say your prayers and ask for God’s understanding and strength. Finish with a smile and some gusto. Do what’s right and finish strong.”
This passage reminds me of the career advice in Tweet 136 in my book Success Tweets. “Be responsible for yourself. Choose to act in a civil, constructive manner in tense situations.”
I imagine that losing a presidential election when you are the incumbent has to be pretty stressful. From reading his diary entry, I’m assuming George H W Bush takes personal responsibility for his behavior — and that he values his professionalism.
Your values are your personal guide for day-to-day living. They are the best way to take responsibility for yourself. 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 complementary, 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.
- Use my common sense.
- Be a supportive and loving husband.
My business values are a little more wordy…
- 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.
A couple of years ago, I did a blog post in which I mentioned an argument I had 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.
Here’s another example of what I’m talking about here. A while back I sent an email to a group of people who are career coaches asking if they would like to join me as a joint venture partner. Several said “yes.” I received a response from one person that was an email with a subject line that said REMOVE. There was no body in the text.
I sent this person a very nice email in which I apologized for bothering her, assured her that I would not contact her again and attached one of my eBooks as a sign of good will. I received a rather condescending response to the second email – offering me coaching on email etiquette. We traded two more emails discussing this issue.
I finally figured out that this person had a strong need to have the last word in this correspondence. I chose to end the conversation gracefully – and let her have the last word. By letting her have the last word, I was following the career advice in Tweet 136 in Success Tweets. “Choose to act in a civil, constructive manner in tense situations.”
Looking back it still seems to me if there was an aggrieved party in this situation it was me not her. But in the long run it doesn’t matter. I took responsibility for not extending a conflict situation that was of little or no importance by letting the other person have the last word – something that seemed important to her.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people develop a set of personal values that guide their day-to-day life. They follow the career advice in Tweet 136 in Success Tweets. “Be responsible for yourself. Choose to act in a civil, constructive manner in tense situations.” Your 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. George H W Bush demonstrated that he lives his values by his diary entry the night he lost the presidency to Bill Clinton. Follow his example. Because when you live your values, you’ll be on your way to a successful life and career.
That’s my career advice prompted by a passage in The President’s Club. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you check out my career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less. The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.
PPS: Have you seen my membership site, My Corporate Climb? It’s devoted to helping people just like you create career success inside large corporations. You can find out about it by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.