September 1st, 2021
Do you have a handle on what your core values are, and whether the company you work for shares the same values? Whether you work for your own company or someone else’s, when your values don’t align with the corporate values, success will be hard to find. On the flip side, when your values do align with your company’s, things will flow much more easily. You’ll literally feel the congruency.
But how do you know what your values are or whether they align? Ask yourself this question: does your workplace feel easy or do you have to put a lot of effort into feeling positive? Do you feel clarity or confusion? Are you feeling ‘move away-from energy’ or ‘lean-in energy?’
For me, it took analyzing the things I felt were most important. In my career that means I want an environment that is collaborative, communicative and honest. I want to work in an environment where feedback is constructive and trust is deep. I know I do not want to work in an environment where promises are broken, people are micromanaged and limits are imposed on what I can achieve.
It can take a long time to really get crystal clear on what you want your life to look like and to feel like. I worked for years in ‘big real estate,’ and I realized I was losing my balance. I’d walk into goal-setting meetings filled with dread, instead of excitement. I was already stretched too thin, overcommitted and out of integrity with my own values, and the thought of adding more to my already too full plate felt awful.
I hired a personal coach. I’d had a business coach for seven years, but I knew I needed a different type of coaching. Finally, I realized that my non-negotiable, my deal-breaker, had to do with family. I no longer wanted to feel like I’d done something wrong if I walked in five minutes late because I’d taken my child to school. When I came home after work, I wanted to be able to just be present and enjoy our lives. Those realizations were like a bolt of lightning. To use sailing terminology, I’d been too focused on the chart and had forgotten to survey the landscape.
Once you’re clear on your personal values, it’s time to make sure your business values align. In business, it’s tempting to rush through the important, foundational work and get right down to selling or earning. The challenge with that approach is that it’s not sustainable. Your business will roll along for a few months and then, suddenly, things will get MUCH harder.
Doing the foundational work is worth it. In my next post, we’ll talk about growth through sustainable value, but for now, I’ll leave you with a favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."