What are your core values? I am not referring to the aspirational traits that you want to strive towards. Or the bare minimum morals you require of yourself and others. I mean the beliefs that are deeply personal to you. They are part of your DNA. These core values are the fundamentals that guide your actions and choices every day — especially when no one is looking.
Now think about the company where you work or lead. Do your values line up?
I recently asked folks on LinkedIn about this idea of company and personal values. I asked whether you think it is possible for company values to mirror your own. And to share one value that is important to you in work and in life.
It was interesting to read through the comments. Honesty and courage were on the list. Most folks thought it was possible to work at a company whose values aligned with your own. But I did not see many who said they currently work at a place like this.
When my co-founder Dr. Chris Waters and I started Aha!, we wanted to do something different, something true. We did not want to build just another software company. So we lead with our personal values — the belief that sustainable, lasting success and happiness originate in respect for and service to others.
I think we all aspire to live a meaningful life — this includes having meaningful work too.
In fact, I believe every person is deserving of this kind of deep satisfaction. But I am not naive. I know that many of you are working at jobs that are not bringing you meaning. Even worse, companies where you frequently feel that your values are out of alignment. And few among us are in the luxurious position of walking out on a job simply because the value fit is not right.
As a company founder, I was fortunate to be able to align my values with how we wanted the company to behave. But if you cannot set your own course and do not find yourself in this situation, there are ways that you can still keep true to yourself.
Live out those values in your actions. And be kind — to yourself and others. Not every day will be great. But you can strive for your absolute best.
Chris and I did two things back when we were starting Aha! We wrote down a list of the values we would never compromise on. (You can read more about this in my bestselling book Lovability.) And we set a vision for what we wanted the company to achieve. I suggest you do the same for yourself.
Try writing it down: I will achieve____(what)_____, by this date____(when)_____, by taking these actions____(how)_____, for this reason_____(why)_____.
You can live your values at work even if they are not explicitly part of the company culture.
See what kind of change you can bring. It may take time, but each day you will be moving forward — with honesty and courage.
What is one value that you will never compromise on — for any job?