One person may prize a steady work ethic. Another may value across-the-board honesty over all else. Another may look for loyalty. When I consult with clients at Working Voices, one of the first things we consider before preparing a presentation, or drafting an important document, or even re-setting a mission statement, is Values. For example, your business may have a reputation for being extremely skilled at business dealings. However, your organization may also want to begin emphasizing other strengths, such as Trustworthiness. That simple idea—trust—can become a part of every interaction, every presentation, every brand statement. It may guide individual actions, as well as the business as a whole. And it all begins with a basic exploration of Values.
My core values were inherited from my grandfather Clint, whom I call “Papa.” Papa came from a modest background. He didn’t have much. His values, however, were hard work and family first. He put himself through school and earned a law degree. He became a practicing attorney who eventually argued before The Supreme Court. His belief in hard work pulled him out of his humble beginnings and allowed him to open up new possibilities for himself and his family, including me. Whenever it was needed, Papa was there for his family with good advice, financial guidance, and a kind word or well-timed joke to help lift spirits.
In recent years, Papa has suffered from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. It has drastically altered his appearance, his physical abilities, and his capacity to digest ideas—something that is particularly challenging for a lawyer of his intelligence. Through all the changes, however, Papa has somehow managed to hang on to his core Values. Recently, he opened his home once again to family and friends for Thanksgiving. He welcomed new faces, filled the fridge, and insisted on picking up the tab, when dining out. Although his voice has deteriorated over the past few years, Papa was still there with good advice and a well-timed joke, if you were patient enough to lean in and listen to the breathy whisper that has replaced his formerly robust voice.
Papa struggles, daily, through the exercises that keep him up and walking. He’s challenged, frequently, by the effort that is required to speak and share what’s on his mind. But he’s committed to doing the work, because that’s who Papa is. Through the years, and the twists and turns of life, Papa has managed to hang on to the values that have had such a powerful impact on his family, friends, and colleagues. Those convictions have definitely shaped my own belief in the power of Values as a guiding force. That’s why I’m always working with clients to discover how to use their positive beliefs to excel in their business and personal lives. Before you begin any project or presentation, ask yourself: What are my values? The values of my company and those around me? And how can I turn those Values into positive, guiding actions? These simple, but profound, questions can have a lasting impact on your life, and on those whose lives are effected by you.
Papa passed that on to me.
Who will carry on your Values?