Self-leadership begins with defining values for your life. Just like the United States has a constitution living by your values will give you greater joy in your life. It will also give direction to where you want to go. I have identified few common values which can help us on our journey through life.
Here are 11 values that can help us in our journey of self-leadership and self-fulfillment.
Integrity – You will not be surprised with this one. However if you are totally honest with yourself and all your dealings it gives such peace of mind that is difficult to fathom. This is a top value to inculcate in our business and personal lives. We will fall behind at times but we can get back up knowing we need to be on the right track. Remember none of us are perfect and we will make mistakes.
Ambition – There is nothing wrong with ambition as long as it doesn’t lead to greed. When you have good ambition you are more excited about life. Increase this value by setting some big goals for your life and also defining your mission.
Boldness – To achieve ambition you need to be bold in your actions. Boldness can help you progress further in your life than any other value. To become more bold identify the fears that are holding you back. Write down those fears and see if they are legitimate. If yes then see what can be done to overcome that. Taking action is the key to boldness. It means taking calculated risks to achieve what you want. I don’t subscribe to the theory that you have to bungee jump to feel exhilarated. I think you can feel it just being alive and having a deep love of life. One of the examples of this is Steve Jobs decision to go ahead with the Apple Stores concept. In fact one of the comments from Business Week at that time was “Sorry Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work.” Despite all this Steve Jobs had the audacity to proceed with his vision and see ultimate success.
Faith – This need not necessarily mean god but having a spiritual bent has shown to relieve stress. There is a larger force in the world which we may not be aware of but things do happen to us some of which cannot be explained with logic. Even stoicism says that you should assign some items to fate because we don’t have the answers to everything in life.
Humility – This was well established by Jim Collins in his seminal work “Good to Great.” Great leaders he found in his research were all humble and never stopping being qualified for the job. Leadership is about serving others and how can you serve others if you are not humble. This quote from Wynton Marsalis the greater trumpeter and composer addresses this “You can tell when someone is truly humble, because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way.’ Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves.”
Industriousness – Industry is a great value to have. This simply means you cannot achieve big success without hard work. I know there are so many shortcuts promised to achieve success but without a strong work ethic nothing worthwhile can be achieved. Be in it for the long haul. Working hard while being smart is the key.
Learning – Engage in lifelong learning. This is the key to keep your mind active throughout your life. Read, listen and learn all you can. As Gandhi said “Live as if you are going to die tomorrow but learn as you are going to live forever.” Identify experts in your field, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts, read their books, connect with them, document what you have learned and share what you have learned.
Generosity – True happiness comes when you do something for someone who cannot repay that to you. A wise Chinese proverb says “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.” It follows that when you are generous you are more likely to be kind as well.
Love – Indeed life can be enjoyed only through love. If we make our life about love everything will be easier. Envy and anger can be removed only through deep love. Love your life, love yourself, love your family and love humanity. Everybody in the world deserves love. If you love life and see it as an opportunity everything else does seem better.
Forgiveness – First forgive yourself for anything that has gone wrong in your life. Not forgiving yourself makes you carry you a burden which prevents you from being free to think big thoughts. Forgive others as well. This is a key value to have in your arsenal and helps you get the most out life.
Responsibility – We have heard all success books talk about one thing and that is to take complete 100% responsibility for your life. For example Stephen Covey’s first habit is Be Proactive. You are responsible for your actions and reactions to events. You cannot change the event but you can change your response. When we understand that most of the stuff that we blame on others can be better handled if we took responsibility for our part however small it may be. As Jim Rohn said “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
There you have it the 11 values that we can live by. Please share what other values you consider important.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.