Corporate culture sucks. People don’t enjoy coming to work, people don’t have a sense of purpose. They fight with one another. There is a great business book by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos called Delivering Happiness. In the book, Tony talks about creating a productive and happy culture, and one that elevates people to be their best selves, and do their best work.
One concept in particular really stood out for me, the idea of core values. Hsieh illustrates that a company should have up to 10 core values from the day it’s created. These values have several benefits.
First, as a company grows and changes, it helps make sure that everyone is aligned and onboard with the established and agreed upon values, which should almost never change, no matter what happens.
Second, it makes things really easy. In the toughest of times, when things go wrong, when people get angry, when it’s all on the line. The last thing that you want people to do is have to make snap judgments or decisions.
By creating core values, companies like Zappos always have a guiding compass. They always know what’s right, and what reflects their values. And that makes executing on those values an absolute no-brainer.
Now, if this is true for organizing 1000s of people together in a company, why isn’t it true of organizing the many aspects of your meaningful life as well? Well, it turns out, it actually is.
After reading Hsieh’s book, I took a blank piece of paper and I started to formulate the different things that were important to me. At first, it started out as just words, honesty, compassion, exuberance, knowledge. But over time, these values morphed into fully thought-out ideals, values that I strive to live by every single day.
Now I’m going to open up to you guys and share them with you. Here they are.
I put that in such top priority, but it doesn’t actually show up in my values. Well, if you look at the different aspects of the wheel of life, they’re almost all represented in one way or another by my core values.
I even color code them according to the section of the wheel of life that they represent.
Having these values might seem a little bit strange, but hey, I don’t mind if you think that. Why not? Because of core value number 10 of course.
In any of life’s situations, whether embarrassment or conflict or deciding between different opportunities. All you have to do is to look at your core values and to the mission statement that will come out of it.
Free from distractions of temporary and passing factors that could throw you off course and ask what they would have you do.
Maintaining these values and sharing them with others allows you to be true to yourself. Sure, we all deviate from our values once in a while we’re human, but having them as defined concrete ideals is one of the best ways to know who we are.
As so many people throughout history have suggested, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
As homework for you, please take a piece of blank paper and start reiterating your values. Even if they’re just single words. Once you have some ideas of things that are important to you, try to write them out into sentences, what are your values, order, grammar and all that can come later as you define and tweak your core values over the coming days and weeks. And as always, feel free to take the examples we’ve given as a starting off place and make it your own. Once this is done, you will be ready to define your personal mission statement.