Anything that is built to last any length of time needs to have a foundation. A business is no different. The first step in building your business’ foundation is to know who you are and if you own or lead a business, “Who” is that business, team or department?
Enter Core Values
Each of us is guided by a set of values that influence every decision we make. When we make decisions that sit outside of our core values, we feel uncomfortable and uneasy. When we make decisions that sit inside of our core values, we tend to feel more grounded, more certain. This is especially true if the decision is very important and a difficult one. I’m sure you’ve had that experience where you have made a really tough decision. The stakes are high and the outcome might be uncomfortable but you just know, right in the pit of your gut, this is THE decision and that no matter what happens, it’s the decision you had to make.
It is in those moments that we really feel the power of our core values.
One of the biggest challenges with core values is that often, we have no idea what they are. We may not even realise that we have specific core values and that they are actively working to help us craft a life, a business, that is aligned with who we really are and what we really need.
Choose your Core Values
So step one in the process of unlocking the power of your “Who” is to identify 3 to 5 core values (max.) that sit in the heart of your integrity. To help get you started, here is a link to a comprehensive list of core values.
Read through the list and make a note of the words that really resonate with you. Tune into your body. Trust it to tell you when something is a non-negotiable must-have and when it’s something you value but isn’t essential.
If you end up with a long list, look to see if you can group words together, whether you have multiple words that mean the same thing and which words reflect the absolute non-negotiables.
Define each Core Value
When you’ve whittled your list down, reflect on each word and explicitly define what it means to you, how you live and breathe it, why it is essential and how you need to experience it in the world. While many of us would say that concepts like trust, respect and integrity are important to us, what each of those means and how it is expressed can be very different, for different people.
Live each Core Value
Once you have defined your core values, pay attention to how you live them on a daily basis. Where, when and why do you make decisions that are within your core values and where, when and why do you make decisions that are outside of your core values? Ask yourself how you know you are working within or outside of your core values?
The longer you consciously work with your values, the more you will be able to align the work you do, the people you interact with, the way you live with your life so that you are living in harmony with yourself. You will be in flow.
Knowing who you are, uncovering your why, living a conscious life, takes time, attention and self awareness. It’s not always easy. It’s almost a never a straight line. It is always worth it. Surround yourself by people who support you and find resources that can help. To your continued success!
Sharon Gilmour-Glover is a consultant, educator and speaker. Her greatest passion is helping leaders with a vision bigger than themselves expand their capacity for success. Visit Sharon to learn more.