You need a line in the sand.
When I was younger and starting a career I didn’t have a line in the sand. I was too busy trying to impress my boss, my co-workers, and the people I served. I would do whatever they wanted. My mission was squashed day after day. I was miserable. I felt like I couldn’t say “no.” And I really couldn’t. I didn’t know what I stood for.
I didn’t know my line in the sand.
One of my favorite presidents and historical leaders is John Adams. He was the philosopher and idea man behind the American Revolution. After becoming the second president of the United States, Adams revealed the values he used as guiderails. He wrote, “I must study politics and war, so my sons may have liberty to study painting and poetry, mathematics and philosophy.” Adams knew why he did what he did. He was grounded in his daily decisions. When his back was against the wall he knew the response he would make time and time again.
You and I need lines in the sand. Core values are lines in the sand.
Core values are your fixed position. The consistent and reliable way you respond time after time. They are your north star. Whether you are aware of them or not, core values will always show up in your actions and decisions.
When I got serious about my mission, I knew I needed to discern my values. Here’s what flowed out of me.
These are the values which guide my decisions and actions – no matter what. These show me when to say “yes” and more importantly, when to say ”no.”
You might be asking, how do I discern my values?
Make a list
Here’s the way to start. Find a comfortable place, get a note pad, and start writing words that you believe describe you. Some words might be “courageous, stubborn, helpful, loving, compassionate, driven, faith, excellence, commitment…”
Spend time with this and write what comes to mind. You may even want to think about positive words others have used to describe you.
Choose 3-5 Words
Once you have your list, go back and highlight three to five words that resonate deeply with you. These are words that warm your heart and put fire in your belly.
Only choose three to five words. These are characteristics and habits that you will live by when your back is against the wall.
Will they last?
These values will need to be your line in the sand. You’ve got to ask yourself, “Will these things I’ve chosen to guide my decisions last when it gets hard? Or will I respond oppositely?”
You’ll know if your values are right the first time you need to say “no” to someone.
Have fun with this exercise. I’m here to help. Let me work with you as you get a clear handle on your life mission and core values. Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me.