After watching a superhero movie recently I noticed one of the key components to the plot was the loyalty to family. This led to a discussion about how sometimes I feel more loyal to close friends than extended family. When I tried to cite an example, the other person was quick to point out that on this particular topic, I wasn’t more loyal to a friend or family member so much as I was loyal to a core belief. Which got me thinking about my core values.
One of the most memorable keynote speakers I ever got a chance to listen to talked about how your values should be like a lighthouse. They should be easily visible to others, they should never move or waver, and they should guide your actions.
Easily Visible to Others – I love the thought of this. I had a youth pastor growing up who used to always say to us, if I spent 5 minutes with your closest friends I can tell what kind of person you are. In addition to having my values be clearly seen by those closest to me, I’ve been trying to surround myself with people who share my core values. As someone who is a born people-pleaser, this is harder than it might sound. This is not to say surround yourself with people who think and act the same as you, I understand that little growth happens unless you get outside your comfort zone.
Never Move or Waver – True commitment to ones values means that you don’t have to wonder what you will do when you are faced with an ethical dilemma. If your values never move, neither will you view on the correct course of action. I knew a lawyer who had to investigate one of his best friends, a CEO of a company he represented, because the board of directors thought he was having an affair with his secretary. Unfortunately for both of them, the board of directors was correct. He said he felt bad for the CEO that the information would have to become public, but he said he never questioned whether or not he would share the information he found because he knew where his values and beliefs were.
Guide Your Actions – To that same point, your values aren’t something you pull out in a difficult situation. They guide your actions every single day. When you see a piece of trash on the ground in a public place, do you pick it up? This is a small act in the grand scheme of things but something so small says a lot about a person. I’ve been the lowest person on the totem pole so to speak in more than one job and I was always impressed with the people who treated me the same as those who were the most important person in my place of work.
My hope is that this post was encouraging and as someone reads this they think, “yep, my values do all of these things.” If not, it’s great to have someone, or a couple someones, who keeps you accountable of your values and call you out if it looks like they are wavering in any part of your life. I’m thankful that I know several people who would, and sometimes do, call me out if any of my actions are ever appear to be in question.
Until next time,