What do you value? What are you not willing to compromise? When companies write mission and vision statements, often they begin with value statements. Frequently their value statements talk about a commitment to the environment, being involved in the community, upholding quality and innovation, etc. What are your values?
When we set goals, it’s important to take time and explore what we stand for. What do we really value in life? Family? Time not working? Travel? It’s a very individual choice, and one person’s choice isn’t necessarily better than another person’s. As you decide what your driving values are, don’t be fake. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t care about volunteering in the community, don’t say that it’s a value! If you want to have enough financial security that you can take a sabbatical from work every two years, that’s fine, too! The important thing is this: be honest with yourself about your values, and use that as a basis for making your decisions.
I view values as the boundaries on a playing field. On a field there are goals, and as you try to reach those goals, you have a strategy. There are lines around the field to tell you when you are in bounds and out of bounds; you don’t want the ball to go out of bounds. When you are working towards your goals, if you start sacrificing your values, you are now out of bounds.
In life it’s not just the goal that counts, but how you reached it. If you sacrificed your values along the way, your level of satisfaction will be less than had you maintained your integrity. Often we don’t realize how much integrity plays into our self-esteem. If we reach our dreams with integrity, we then experience the highest level of achievement.
Explore what’s important to you; prioritize your life and your goals around those values. Don’t compromise your beliefs for short-term gain. It may take longer for you to win, but it will be a win with a capital “W”.
Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.