When I was 23, my first manager suggested I write down my values. I wasn’t sure what that meant. What are values? What are my values?! 😬 I thought it was a useless exercise at the time, but I did it anyway. After some reflection, I settled on five core values: Creativity, Respect, Collaboration, Integrity and Excellence.
Five years later, new leaders joined the company and I started having unpleasant interactions with them. Their behavior was condescending, disrespectful, unappreciative and inflexible – towards me and others – and negatively impacted the vibe of the entire company. No longer cool and collaborative, my workplace had become hostile and negative….and a place I didn’t enjoy working.
I phoned my former manager looking for his sage guidance. Should I leave the company? Confront the bad behavior? Suck it up and stay quiet? Something else? His advice was simple: “Revisit your values and the answer will reveal itself.”
I followed his advice and he was right. Again. The answer was clear: I needed to move on. Why? Because I was fighting against a set of company values that weren’t aligned with my personal values. I wanted to be part of an organization that was values-driven and cared about the same things I cared about.
It was the best decision I ever made. Why? Because everything starts with values.
Values are your inner compass 🧭, your 💛’s deepest desires, and what you care about and believe in most 🤗.
They drive how you behave as a human being and the choices you make for your life – in friends, life partners, homes, jobs, careers, how you spend your time and who you spend it with.
In short, values influence every decision you make (whether you realize it or not). When you know your values, you know yourself and become rooted in who you really are.
Idowu Koyenikan, an acclaimed organizational consultant and author says, “a highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.” According to research by Stanford neuroscientist Jamil Zaki, we respond positively and report increased happiness when we share values with those we live and work with (Business Insider).
Diane Flynn, co-founder of the ReBoot Accel shared, “those who are fulfilled at work spend time constantly assessing their values — which change throughout life — as well as their skills and dreams. This takes time, but I am 100 percent certain that this process results in greater happiness at both work and home.”
Knowing your values is….well, invaluable.