Thursday, November 21, 2013
We hear a lot of talk these days about knowing our values, and this begs a really good question: Are we sure that we really know what our values are? Not just the things or ideals we might say we value – those nice words that bring nods of encouragement and affirmation – but the real and deep-seated values that profoundly influence how we choose to spend our time, our money and the best of our energies?
As I have reflected on the significance of values throughout my career, it has become more and more apparent to me that whether or not we choose to declare our values, we certainly do live them. The things that are important to us are where we will invest the best of our time, how we will choose to spend our financial resources and surely what will command the most of our energies. And the truth is, whether we acknowledge it or not, sometimes our values guide us well and other times they can lead us astray.
Our values will play out daily as we pursue success, however we choose to define it. So perhaps the first question to ask is: How do we…How do YOU define success? If success looks likes like financial security, professional achievement, marital fulfillment, family connectedness, relationship stewardship, physical fitness – or perhaps some combination of all of the above – it is important to know that we will pursue the first among these with passion… and sometimes at the expense of one or more of the others.
While it is certainly okay to have and pursue multiple core values, it is also really important to understand the rank each holds at various times in our lives. This more intentional awareness can then guide us more effectively through times when one value may be causing a prolonged pressure on another.
We cannot dismiss the values we have. They are powerful guiding forces. Rather, we can be more aware that sometimes the things that drive us will consume more of us than the things that fulfill us. Each is significant, but in the longer run… perhaps not at the ongoing expense of another. So, if knowing our definition of success leads to clarifying the values we hold, then clarification of those values should lead to actions. Our actions will invite others to experience our core values. And if our values are simply the aspirational ideas we have created in our minds rather than the actions, ideals and behaviors we are committed to living each day, perhaps there is opportunity for some deep personal reflection… and invaluable personal growth.
So, how do YOU define success? And… where are your values leading you?
Donald G. Soderquist College of Business
Graduate Business Programs – Director