Understanding our Values

One of the traits that makes for a successful life is to find our consistency. The strongest leaders are those that have a consistency in how they make decisions. Every follower may not support the leader but even those individuals know their predictability. And, here is one part of life where you must be consistent—Decision making.

 From the time of birth, we are inculcated with signals from our parents to help form our values. We hear “NO” probably as often as any other word. Parents direct our behavior with approval or disapproval of our actions. Ultimately, we get a good idea of what our parents want us to do and what values they are stressing.

Religious regiments are another regulator of our reactions to life. They provide guidance helping us make the choices with difficult decision making opportunities. We are constantly making choices and those choices are either in line with or opposed to the values we’ve established. The sequence I write about in my book, Journeying on Holy Ground, is God, Family, Career—a decision clarifier. It’s been a good guidance for me particularly when I began my career.

I was recently reading a publication from High Point University in High Point, NC. My long-time friend, Nido Qubein, was recruited by High Point several years ago to be their President. Nido is not an educator but he is the most brilliant and successful businessman I’ve ever met. In this publication he states that when we are very clear on our values, decision making become easier. He mentions values such as service, hard work, generosity, and gratitude that he strives to have students adopt. I find them important enough to expand a bit on each one.

Service: There is no greater life than one of service. Our happiest moments occur when we are serving others in some capacity. On the job, at home, in the community—there are multiple occasions to serve. Why not search for those opportunities to serve others?

Hard Work: Many will tell you to work smart not hard. There is truth to that statement. But, because we work smart it doesn’t mean we can coast and take it easy. Smart and hard do go together. Be committed, continuously strive to be your best and, when working on your most significant projects, don’t work with a clock. Be willing to work hard to become smart!

Generosity: We are all gifted with talents. Don’t be stingy with them. If they can be used to serve, that is a true act of generosity. Share with others needing what you have at every opportunity. Have knowledge? Share it! I’ve been gifted by so many, including Nido, in my lifetime. They have generously helped me gain knowledge. Have money? Share it with others in need of this form of generosity. There is a good feeling few experience when we extend generosity to others. So, be generous.

Gratitude: So often we forget to extend a simple, “thank you” to others. That’s free and the more we practice using these words, the richer we become with life’s blessings. We should also be appreciative of what life throws into our lap. A talent, a new friendship, finding a soulmate, a new job, a raise—the list goes on and on. Appreciate life’s blessings, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Gratitude breeds positive thoughts. Positive thoughts open your mind to greater opportunities. In turn, greater opportunities introduce more successes. And, success should raise your gratitude mindset. I call this the “Circle of Gratitude.”

Understanding and living our values is the only path to reaching congruency in our live. Congruency removes tensions. Removing tensions creates greater happiness. Greater happiness allows one to truly live the life intended.

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