What do you stand for?

Last week I wrote about the very first step and concept from The Circle of Impact which talks about defining yourself. In that blog, I discussed the difference between baggage and luggage and how those concepts play a role in defining yourself. Check last week’s blog out here.

As you work through the process of defining yourself, the next step of The Circle of Impact naturally occurs. This step is declaring and listing your values. As an entrepreneur it is crucial that we know what we stand for. Running a small business daily places us in situations where we must show our customers, vendors and community what we stand for. When I mention values, many entrepreneurs immediately start writing down some nice sounding words that seem as though they would be on a fancy poster in their office. When I ask somebody to share their values, I ask them what they stand for. So, what do you stand for? What are you willing to face adversity for? What are you willing to make a fool of yourself for? What are you willing to stand up and fight for, even if you are the only one in the fight? What if you are the only one in the fight and the odds and fight is stacked against you? What are you willing to die for? This is what I mean when I talk about values. Your values are your guiding principles that you live by and that direct you and ground you in decision making daily. What are yours?

Maybe you are having trouble discovering and declaring these. Here is a very effective exercise you can do to help discover your values. It is called the “Your 5 List”. Write down the five people that you spend the most time with in your life, or that have been the most influential to you. These are people that you must know well and that also must know you well. Just a side note, you will become the books you read and the five people you spend the most time with. Now that you have your five listed, write down 4-5 characteristics that best describe each one of these people. What would you say their core values are? Now, what would each one of these people say are your core values? Once you have this list completed you should have about 40-50 values listed out. Half are what you see in them and the other half what they see in you. What similarities do you see? Most likely what you value and see in others they also value and see in you. You associate with like minded and like valued people. This list of values could very well be the start to your list of values and what you stand for.

So what do you stand for? This is a question rarely asked in society, business, school, or the playground. Because it is rarely asked, it rarely rolls off of anyone’s tongue. There is power in being able to stand up and declare who you are and what you stand for. When faced with a tough decision, adversity, or you are tempted to go off track from your purpose, having values like fight, faith, family, action, accountability, giving, gratitude, love, service and excellence (these are my top 10) will bring you back to your purpose and allow you to do you be.

Tune in next week when I share how to take who you are defined to be and combine it with your values to frame this into a vision for your life.