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…
- 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. Several months 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.
Just last week I had an experience that gets at what I’m talking about here. I sent an email to a group of people with whom I have an affinity 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 terminate the conversation – and let her have the last word. By letting her have the last word, I was following the career advice in Tweet 136. “Choose to act in a civil, constructive manner in tense situations.”
I still think that I was the aggrieved party in this situation, 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 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 guides their day-to-day life. They follow the career advice in Tweet 136 in Success Tweets. “Be responsible for yourself. No one can ‘make you angry.’ 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. You’ll be on your way to a successful life and career.