Today the company I work sent out a list of 10 values we the employees are voting on to choose the top 5. It’s a good list, with some unique items like Continuous Improvement, Curiosity and Autonomy along with a few oldies like Trust and Communication. I would have included Empathy and Authenticity.
But the list doesn’t feel right. Values are not mere words. Values are concepts, maybe ideals or dreams. They’re bold. They’re intangible and not just individual qualities or skills. They’re the end-game of good qualities that takes some skill to get there. They take qualities like Accountability and Fun and Courage, infuse them with purpose and turn them into a way of life, who you are. Individual value statements should stand on on their own as easily as they work together.
So this got me to thinking about my personal values. They’ve changed as I’ve gained life experience, and I still need to realize some of them, but I’ve never written them down. So here they are:
- I try in all things I endeavor to do to become better than I am.
- I hold true to my authentic self with confidence.
- I keep to myself unless it is unethical not to intervene.
- I live in the present but am mindful of the future.
- I surround myself with positive, uplifting influences that can help me realize my goals and dreams and stay true to my authentic self.
- I work to practice patience and calm.
The last one is certainly a daily challenge, but luckily I have a little dog who apparently was put on this earth to help me with just that. The others are a combination of past difficult experiences, good parenting and a strong belief that I alone am tasked with making things happen in my life. And that’s how it is with values. You can’t just say you have them. They have to be part of you.