What it looks like to not live by your values:
Have you ever had a bad day that could have been avoided if you had only lived out some simple life values?
Yeah, I’ve been there. I was coming home late from a church board meeting. As I walked into the living room, my wife informed me that Discover (the credit card co.) had called and asked if we wanted to increase our line of credit.
My heart sank. I had been found out, and there was nothing I could do to cover up my dishonesty and financial neglect.
The issue was about character. I did not develop my adult character. I had to own my behavior (both past and present) and then create a plan to move forward.
“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” Ben Franklin
Leaders must live by their values.
Moving forward, my wife and I created a plan to ensure we had financial transparency and honesty within our marriage. It was not easy because I had control issues and fear of rejection that I needed to work through. But WE worked through it, and we are a healthier couple today.
What are leadership values?
Values are the guiding principles or truth statements that align with our life. You might not have a written list of values you live by, but you still have values.
Often, people or organizations will list out values that they don’t live or believe; values like INTEGRITY, HONESTY, LOVE FOR OTHERS, etc. They have a nice list, and it might even be posted on a wall somewhere for others to see. However, they are not living them out, and those they serve can see it and are frustrated. Living by values is hard, yet it builds trust within relationships.
Ways to Create Your Own Values:
Keep It Simple – Come up with 5 to 7 values you would like to have characterized your life. Don’t go for the easy ones like “honesty” and “integrity”; these values should be understood in any relationship, so go deeper. Pick values that will clarify who you are and what you stand for.
Reinforce – If you have never lived out the values you created for yourself, you will need some help to implement them. Recruit some friends to review and hold you accountable for your new values as you begin to integrate them into your life.
Choose – Moving forward; you will have an opportunity to violate the values you created for yourself. This is your test. Living by values is tough, and it can be pricey. Therefore, every time you choose to live by your values, you create neuron pathways in your brain that make it easier and easier in the future to follow them.
After my Discover Card revelation, it was hard for me to be honest with Jen about some of my spending. But I leaned into the pain, and over time, I trusted the process to regain the trust and transparency I (we) wanted.
Did You Know
Terry Porter is an executive life coach helping his clients reach their goals?
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (2006). A Leader’s Legacy. Jossey-Bass Publishing.
Cloud, Dr. Henry (2009). Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps To A Happier, Healthier You. Zondervan Publishing.
Cloud, Dr. Henry (2006, January). Integrity, The Courage To Face The Demands Of Reality. Harper-Collins Publishing.
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