You need to know and write down your Core Values right now…..and I’ll tell you why.
I was recently watching James Bond “Thunderball” with a friend (bare with me here) and somewhere between the hijacking of nuclear warheads and an epic underwater scuba battle, the topic of Core Values came up.
The Internet defines Core Values as “The fundamental beliefs of a person…..these guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong.”
I mostly agree with that, however I would also add that they not only help differentiate between right and wrong, but also act as a compass that can help you navigate difficult decisions and the uncharted waters of life.
If you have a solid and accessible set of core values, you’ll always have them in your back pocket ready to guide you whenever you’re in need of direction.
As Bond was traipsing around the Caribbean with a scantily clad and similarly named women, our conversation continued. I soon realized that although I have many ideas, concepts and opinions that I feel strongly about, I’ve never actually sat down and written out MY core values.
Without having these values to reflect on, I’m living a reactionary life. One where I make decisions based on what’s directly in front of me, not with how those decisions may impact my future and what’s truly important to me.
The next day I was to fly to Colorado for an IVY Adventure and as I looked at my boarding pass, I realized I was given the middle seat. I hate the middle seat. I travel quite a bit and understand and vehemently adhere to all of the unwritten rules of a frequent traveler; never recline your seat, exit the plane from front to back (unless someone in the back has a connecting flight), and of course, the armrest hierarchy. The isle seat gets the isle, the window seat gets the window, and the middle seat gets BOTH armrests. This is nonnegotiable.
As I squeezed into the grade-school sized and ever so slightly cushioned chair, I quickly discovered the person in the window seat did NOT follow these rules. They aggressively apprehended both arm rests, shut the window shade and reclined their seat. To me, this is three strikes and you’re out.
It was that moment I knew it was time to write down my first Core Value:
1. “The rules of the window seat are not optional.”
What I mean by that is; with power comes responsibility and just because you have a position of power or privilege doesn’t mean you should take advantage of it. We see this so often in everyday life and usually refer top them as “power trips.” A little (or a lot) of power goes to someone’s head and they want to exert that power on anyone and everyone. We are all just a bunch of flesh spinning around on this planet, while spinning in our galaxy, while spinning in the universe. Let’s treat each other equally.
Ok, Im on a roll. What’s next?
2. “The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing”
I try to live my life being fully responsible for my actions and not look to blame others for what happens to me. The only thing we can truly control is our response and our reactions so no matter what anyone says or does, we have the power to control how we react.
I like this. It’s like creating a roadmap of the street you grew up on. You know all the houses, the street names and every tree along the way, now it’s just writing it all down.
3. I have better things to do than to stay pissed off.
Life is short and holding grudges takes energy. I have so much that I’m thankful for and want to accomplish in life that it does me no good to stay angry with someone or hold a grudge. All it does is keeps your mind in a negative state and takes you away from the positivity and goodness that can be found.
By this point in my flight, it was time to return my tray table to its upright position and stow my carryon underneath my seat, so I stopped with three, for now.
Taking the time to think about and start writing my core values was like using Google Maps for the first time. I now have the start of a GPS for my life. Something I can refer back to whenever I’m feeling lost or misguided on my journey.
I’m not done though.
I know there are more things that are important to me so much so that I would consider them a core value. I’m going to take this list, write it down on a piece of paper, put it in my wallet and cary it with me daily.
And I highly suggest you do the same.
Please comment below with some of your Core Values. I would love to see what helps guide you through life.