What Do You Value?

Jun 21st, 2017 | By | Category: Commentary

Jeff Hough

By Jeff Hough

Values are the driving force behind everything we do. The interesting thing about values is that unless examined often, they can lead you in the wrong direction. Some moral values aren’t debatable. Treat others like you want to be treated would be a moral value that isn’t debatable. Other moral values like don’t lie, cheat or steal would be acceptable values by the majority of people you come in contact with.

When it comes to business and leadership, values can become a gray area. The old mantra “it’s just business” seems to drive many business decisions, leaving good values laying by the wayside.

For leaders, values are what separate the great from the rest. Google confuses values with leadership traits, which appears to mirror the workplace. A search for top leadership values only returns three articles dealing with values. The majority of search results deal with traits like vision, communication, and courage.

From a self-development standpoint, good values are those that point inward. For example, people that value money or friends have values that point outward. When you value external things like money or friends, you have to ask yourself if you will ever have enough to meet that value. Quite often, the answer to that question is no. There will never be enough money or friends to fulfill that value.

Conversely, if you focus on the inward value of having meaningful relationships, you can meet that value. I recently read Steve Young’s biography. In it, he tells about a chance encounter with author Stephen Covey that had a profound impact on him.

Young was struggling with his backup quarterback role to Joe Montana. He felt he was being treated unfairly and that he was being held back. During his encounter with Covey, he shared his frustrations, seeking Covey’s advice.

After thinking about it for a couple of minutes, Covey responded with a couple of questions. The first question was, “is there a better organization than the 49’ers?” Young said there wasn’t. The second question was “is there anyone better than Joe Montana to mentor you as a quarterback?” Again, Young’s answer was no.

Covey said it seemed to him that Young was in the very best position possible to find out how great he could be. Covey’s answer struck a deep chord in Young who realized that he was valuing the wrong thing. After the encounter, he changed his approach and values to reflect the new perspective. He went on to become a Hall of Fame quarterback with several MVP awards.

Our values shape our behavior. If we say we want to be fit, but don’t value eating right or exercise, we will never be fit. Determining our core values can be challenging. It requires intense scrutiny of what matters to us. You have to put aside some of the voices in your head and dive into who you are and what makes you happy at your core.
Understanding what your core values reduces our internal strife when making decisions. Take time to think about what matters most to you and brings you the most joy. Then write down your top three or four things and see if your life reflects those values. If there is a disconnect, it is time to be like Steve Young and re-evaluate what you are doing.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Jeff Hough is a business author, blogger and speaker in Pocatello.

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