Recently as part of my personal development I finally, finally figured out how to identify my ‘core values’. The words that describe the things that are most important to my life.
How did I do this? I Googled ‘core values’ and read some things. I didn’t find them helpful. I downloaded a list. I printed it out. I circled some things. I crossed some things out. I made some notes on the side. I added a word that wasn’t there. I made a list. I rewrote the list. For about a week I had this piece of paper in the main work surface of my desk, and I’d read the list I wrote yesterday, I’d look over the words, and I’d make some more changes. Now I think I have the ones that really drive me.
So why am I writing a business blog about this?
Because I am an entrepreneur and my business is part of my life, not separate from it. Even though those core values are personal development, every day that I use them as a guide they help me make the right business decisions for my life.
Teaching- I like to teach. I like to share my knowledge. So I have a blog. Actually, I have several blogs. Every day that I find I’m thinking something over and over, or every time I have several clients that get the same explanation, I try to write a blog about it. If I have several clients who need to learn something, then others probably do to. Blogging isn’t just about marketing.
Integrity- This is huge for me. Am I walking my talk? Am I advising people for their highest good, or mine? Am I offering my services because that’s what I do, or because I really think I can help this person? So sometimes, my advice to a potential client is “I’m not your girl”.
Nature- I’ll admit that this one plays a little less in my business life. Except that my office is lit with natural light light bulbs. It’s painted a color that relaxes me. I have pictures of the outdoors that inspire and relax me on my bulletin board. And I always open the blinds and look out the window as much as possible.
My people- The terms ‘family’ and ‘community’ were both on that list, but neither of them said the right thing to me. Some of my people are blood, some of my people are customers, and some of my people are cats. They get priority. Sure, sometimes I have a real tight deadline, or an appointment, but I try to be sure that time is rescheduled so those important to me never, every doubt that they are important. It also helps me realize that time-to-cuddle-the-cat is an integral part of my life, that I value and cherish. It is not an ‘interruption’ of something ‘important’. It is the something important. How wonderful that my job lets me work from home where I can focus on that.
Fun- I want my job to be fun. I like what I do. I like to write. I have 3 personal blogs on top of the many blogs I write for customers. I like my clients. I take my ‘spidey-sense’ very seriously and try to never sign a client that I don’t think I can have fun with. Sure, there are parts that I don’t love and I don’t find fun, but as my business grows you can be certain that the not-fun parts are the ones I’m most urgently planning to outsource as the resources become available!
Those are my values. Each and every one of them helps me make better business decisions, according to my definition of ‘better’. What makes me happier and more satisfied? What makes me more eager to start work each day? I urge you to look over your core values and make sure that you are applying those to your business choices. Your business is part of your life. Make sure it reflects what is important to you.