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Success or Values, What's More Important?

October 5, 2016

 

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”- Albert Einstein

 

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. As many know, he developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Given that background, I was impressed with the above quote and decided that I would expand a little on the subject of values and how they align action and habits.

 

To bring this discussion to an easily relatable analogy, I introduce the compass. Since its invention in China in 206 BC, the compass has served as a consistent guide for mariners and travelers, with the compass needle always pointing to the north. Travelers rarely got lost if they had a working compass.

Our values are our true north and serve us in a similar way, guiding us in determining the direction of our life. Values are intangible, they can’t be touched, but when we align with our values, they help us make critical decisions. “… A value or belief is a trust or conviction—a feeling, idea or opinion about a principle, standard or aspect of life that is considered to be true, desirable, and inherently worthwhile…”1

 

Wikipedia defines values as… broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person's sense of right and wrong or what "ought" to be ... “…Values are beliefs, qualities, or philosophies that are meaningful to individuals, so much so they are willing to shape their lives and actions to live by them…” 2

They also function as key indicators that we are out of balance, which is evidenced by our frustration, anger, or feeling of being off-center. When we are aligned with our values we are operating in the zone; thus it is important to know what our core values are and if they are aligned to what we are doing (job, relationship, etc.). Values are important in coaching because a client’s core values, or personal value systems, lead him or her to make certain judgments and decisions, which prompt action that lead to results. As a coach, I work towards understanding my client’s core values through a very insightful inventory and rating assessment of values.

 

Whether we are consciously aware of them, everyone has a number of personal values. They can range from the belief in hard work, self-reliance, and punctuality, to more psychological values such as concern and trust for others and harmony of purpose (see my April, 2016 blog on purpose at www.Bill-Hooker.com).

 

When we examine the lives of famous people, we often learn about the personal values that shaped their lives by guiding their actions and choices. It was their personal values that propelled them to great achievement and success. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “…Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know that man is here for the sake of other men…”

 

Core values are those qualities that we naturally want to act on. When our behavior is aligned with our most deeply held values, our actions feel and are desirable and worth of esteem for their own sake. When they aren’t, we fall out of our zone and act accordingly and generally poorly.

 

Take, for example, the value of integrity. How do you know someone has integrity? If people hold integrity as a core value, they just naturally demonstrate it, and you naturally recognize it, right? For example, if someone holds the value of service to others, helping someone in need is an action they will naturally take because they believe it is desirable and worthy. It will feel good to honor that value by acting on it and making more of their life consistent with it.

 

Just like our DNA, each of us has a unique set of values. We may not expect others to do what we do or derive the same sense of self-worth from it. Through discussion with clients I help define those compass points—their true north—for directing the client’s life journey and choices. Coaches are skilled to focus on their client’s needs and to suspend judgement to assist clients to identify and articulate their values.

SourceOne Innovations, Inc. is a coaching and business consulting firm specializing in working with leaders and work force in increasing sales, teamwork and communication. Please visit our website at: www.Bill-Hooker.com, send us a message at Bill@Bill-Hooker.com, or call 215-595-7503.

 

 

 

 

1,2, Becoming a Professional Life Coach Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez, Norton, 2015.
 

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