Your Standards Reflect Your Values
“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.”– Jon Stewart
Continuing our series on the building blocks of extraordinary success, we’re doubling down on last week’s core values discussion. On the way home from our annual goal-setting retreat, Wendy and I listened to Mo Anderson on the Empire Building podcast. Mo told a story about getting out of business with someone for violating a company standard. She said there was no debate because “our standards reflect our values.”
The rest of the drive home, I reflected on how my core values would show up as standards in my life.
Our values intertwine with our standards. In fact, values drive standards. When we think about the lines we just won’t cross, there is almost always a core value at play. When we give a hard no, we rarely experience regret. Values aren’t values if they don’t cost you something. But because our values would be the price paid, there is no buyer’s remorse.
Although we may be able to deduce someone’s values from their standards, I’m sure the reverse is possible. If you know your values, you can establish clear standards.
It’s a three-step process:
First, identify your top three core values. Second, get clear what they mean to you. And finally, explore how you could create standards for living each of those values.
My core values are impact, family, and abundance. Here’s what reflecting on them and how they show up as standards looks like for me:
Core Value: Impact
What does it mean: I define impact as making a difference. I want what I do to matter.
How this value shows up in my standards: While this is a work in progress, I quickly identified these standards related to impact:
- Work on things that matter to me and others – If I’m going to do something, why not focus on things to the largest possible audience.
- Choose exponential over incremental – We only have so much time, so choose the work that can resonate beyond the moment.
Core Value: Family
What does it mean: Family means more than blood relatives. While I start with my immediate family, I know it also includes my close friends and partners.
How this value shows up in my standards:
- Don’t invest time in strangers at the expense of family – This one isn’t complicated but it can be harder than you think.
- Don’t miss milestone moments – I’m pretty good at being where I’m supposed to be, physically. I struggle at times to be fully present.
- Treat family rituals as sacred – As we get closer and closer to being empty nesters, this one looms large.
Core Value: Abundance
What does it mean: This value is about more than money. I’ve known and worked with many who had a scarcity mindset. In my mind, this is the exact opposite.
How this value shows up in my standards: The three standards I crafted for this value are:
- Focus work on things that create opportunities and wealth for others – If you think this is similar to my first standard around impact, you’d be correct. Same vibe, different focus.
- Give, give, give – Wendy and I set annual goals around giving our time, raising money for causes, and donating to charity.
- Invest in the growth of partners – If I can help the people I work with see the world through the lens of abundance, our world gets better. If I can teach them to teach others, the world will get better.
Digging this deep into my values and standards is all pretty fresh for me. I’m sharing in the hope that you can take the clarity you have around your values and create your own rules for living. This exercise has made an impact for me. I hope it will for you too.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: What do I stand for, really?
Make an Impact!