From the desk of Kelsey Buell,
A man by the name of Peter Drucker once said, “Tell me what you value and I might believe you, but show me your calendar and your bank statement and I’ll tell you what you value.”
What does your calendar reflect?
What do you value?
…when was the last time you took a moment to think about this?
Does everything you do align with your values? If so, how did you do that?! You deserve a big high five!
If not….why are you falling short? (Let’s be honest, we’re human, we all fall short sometimes…
It’s so important to live in alignment with your values. If not, you’ll find yourself feeling very disappointed, frustrated, and unsettled.
I’d like to tell you a short story about a woman named Leah….She is a prime example of someone who has learned how to truly live out her values.
Leah grew up in Lakeland, FL with her parents Al and Janet and her two older siblings, Steve and Brenda. By the time she was 14, her parents had been divorced and remarried 3 times. To each other!
As the saying goes, “They couldn’t live with each other, and they couldn’t live without each other!”
Unfortunately, Al (affectionately called “Daddy”) had a nasty habit; he drank too much. And it affected all his relationships. He had a violent temper, and the alcohol only made it worse. Leah shared with me that there were times when she and her mom and siblings would have to lock all the windows and doors tightly and lock her dad out of the house out of fear.
Sadly, when her parents were together, Leah often felt uneasy due to her father’s struggles, but when they were apart it was still a challenge…
Leah was made fun of at school for being one of the only kids with a single mom. Her family struggled financially to make ends meet. Leah told me…her mom would frequently tell her the only snack she was allowed to have was pickles.
All the other kids even got to buy special juice from the juice machine for a dime. Leah would beg and beg for a dime but was told they just couldn’t afford it. Leah shared with me that she often felt a sense of hopelessness at her situation.
When she was a young teen, Leah’s brother invited her to attend a weekend church camp. There she discovered her Christian faith and began to regularly attend church. Even though she went by herself, she never missed a Sunday because it gave her hope even when things were tough.
She would sit in the pew and think, “I pray for a day where I have a loving husband who comes to church with me regularly and a family of my own that I can nurture.”
As Leah moved into her teen years and later into adulthood, her father stopped drinking, her mom and dad remarried each other (for a final time!) and her relationship with her dad grew and strengthened until his death in 2006. Before Al died, Leah was able to forgive her dad for the harm he had caused their family with his drinking.
Today, Leah feels that by forgiving her dad, she gave herself the greatest gift possible.
Currently, Leah lives a comfortable life in the beautiful community of Hutchinson, MN with her loving husband where she attends church every Sunday, lives a healthy lifestyle, and loves serving others through her job.
So let’s talk about Leah’s five values. She shared that these all stem from her life experiences.
- Faith – She found deeper meaning in life through connecting with God and Jesus and realizing that her identity and worth doesn’t come from her circumstances.
- Family – Growing up in a family that was not always a positive situation, she places a high value on curating a positive family experience.
- Friends & Fellowship – The people in her life matter deeply. There’s nothing she loves more than planning a delicious meal and sitting down with others to share in community.
- Fitness / living a healthy lifestyle – She takes really good care of herself. She watched her dad not take good care of himself and this fuels her.
Leah’s story is so important to me and these values are ones I so deeply relate to and that are ingrained in me. Why? Because Leah is my mom.
And while I have not gone through nearly the amount of struggles or hardships she has faced, I have learned a lot through my mom about what truly matters in life and what my values are. Values can be something you are taught by your family, or also evolve out of your life experiences.
When it comes to discovering your values, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What “gets you fired up”?
- If you were to strip away all of the nonessential components of your life, what do you hold most close to your heart?
- What important beliefs were instilled in you as a child?
- Have any of them changed based on your life experiences?
- What’s most important to you in life? Is it a person, working hard, what is it?
- If someone else were to take a look at your life and “predict” your values, what do you think they would say?
- When was the last time you got “fired up” about something…I mean really fired up?
- What values come out of the most challenging times you’ve had in your life?
Here are some tips for being a values-based leader:
Being a values-based leader is crucial for building trust, fostering a positive work environment, and achieving long-term success for yourself and your team. Here are some leadership tips that emphasize the importance of being a values-based leader:
- Define Your Values: Clearly define your personal and organizational values. These values will serve as a compass for your decisions and actions as a leader. Make sure your team is aware of these values and understands their significance.
- Lead by Example: Your behavior sets the standard for your team. Demonstrate the values you expect from your team members in your own actions and decisions. Consistency between your words and deeds is key to earning trust.
- Communicate Openly: Regularly communicate the values that guide your leadership style. Explain why these values are important, how they align with the organization’s goals, and how they contribute to a positive work culture.
- Involve Your Team: Encourage your team members to participate in discussions about values. Ask for their input on what values are important to them and how they think these values can be integrated into the team’s work.
- Empower Decision-Making: When faced with tough decisions, refer back to your values. Encourage your team to do the same. This helps ensure that decisions are aligned with the values you hold dear.
- Measure and Reflect: Regularly assess how well your team is embodying the values you’ve set forth. Reflect on both successes and areas for improvement, and adapt your leadership approach as needed.
Remember, being a values-based leader isn’t just about adhering to a set of principles; it’s about embedding those principles into every aspect of your leadership style, fostering a culture of integrity, respect, and authenticity within your team.
So as a Christian in business, what does God have to say about how to determine your values? Here are some biblical principles that can aid in determining your values:
- Love God and Love Others: Jesus emphasized the greatest commandments as loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). These principles can guide your values toward compassion, kindness, and empathy.
- Humility and Service: Philippians 2:3-4 teaches humility and valuing others above oneself. This can lead to values focused on serving others, selflessness, and humility.
- Golden Rule: The “Golden Rule,” found in Matthew 7:12, advises treating others as you want to be treated. This principle can guide your values toward fairness, respect, and empathy.
- Renew Your Mind: Romans 12:2 urges believers not to conform to the patterns of the world but to renew their minds. This can encourage values that align with God’s truth rather than societal norms.
- Stewardship: The Bible emphasizes stewardship of resources, talents, and time (Matthew 25:14-30). This can lead to values of responsibility, accountability, and generosity.
- Wisdom and Discernment: Proverbs is full of wisdom and guidance on how to live a righteous and meaningful life. Meditating on these verses can help you develop values rooted in wisdom and discernment.
- Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-22) and reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-24) can lead to values centered on reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing.
- Faith and Trust: Hebrews 11:6 highlights the importance of faith and trusting God. This can guide values of faithfulness, trust, and reliance on God’s guidance.
- Prayer and Guidance: Through prayer and seeking God’s guidance, you can discern values that are aligned with your personal relationship with God and your understanding of His will for your life.
Overall, we are called to love one another. I think our common humanity shows that most of us value connection, health, and family.
What do you value? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what is on your list of values. We would love to hear from you!