What are your values?

Let’s have a discussion.  The rise to fame and glory, success and greatness can and will come at a price.  If you aren’t prepared, you’ll find the price you’re paying is way more than you’re getting back.  I started down this path with a previous post.  Now we can really dig into it. The question was posed as part of an assignment I had for a class – Can you separate your values from your vision?  Prior to seeing this question in front of me, I had what I believed to be my core values.  After doing the exercise I figured out something, those core values, weren’t really the core.  They were a step or two away from the core.    

And I think that might be what’s tripping everybody up – when you get to the core of anything it’s usually so much simpler than we thought it was.  We complicate things way more than they were designed to be.  

I had this discussion with my very brilliant partner, she and I went back and forth on a few points and came to the realization that not only did we agree on these really simple ideas – they were really the building blocks of how we plan to accomplish our vision.  With that, we’re going to discuss what we consider to be non negotiable personal and professional core values.  

If you find value in them wonderful.  The idea isn’t to convince you to change your way of thinking, we are simply sharing what works for us.  As a simple rule you shouldn’t separate values from vision; you can have all the vision in the world – if your values aren’t in place that vision may end up crumbling because it lacks a foundation.  I listen to lecturers and speakers on a daily basis and one of my new favorite comments from Eric Thomas – The Hip Hop Preacher goes something like this:  “Your talent will get to you to places that your character can’t keep you.”  In other words, I can see all types of success in front of me and achieve it based on my natural gifts, but if I don’t have the values to support it – I won’t have it for long.

We’ve all experienced first-hand this scenario – you land that job, win that game / sporting event or meet the person of your dreams.  But very shortly after achieving it, we lose it.  You wanted it and it came to you rather effortlessly and yet it has managed to slip through your grasp.  Why?

Let’s start with Character – What are you made of?  What type of person are you at the core?  When your back is to the wall how do you respond?  For me character drives everything, it’s the basis in which we choose our actions our thoughts.  When the time comes to do the right thing, you either do it or you don’t and that defines your character.   Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Do you stand by your word even when it’s no longer convenient or enjoyable?  Have you made a promise to be there and for some reason or another, when the phone call came – you just couldn’t do it?  These are the critical moments that define our character and instead of embracing these moments for what they are – we turn from them, make excuses and move on.  The problem here is that we don’t realize our inaction is defining our character for us.  And when all the cards have been laid on the table – there is no one to blame but yourself.  I don’t profess to be the only one in the world who lives a life of extremely high caliber character.  I’m human like everyone else and I drop the ball on occasion and let people down.  The difference is that I learn from it and do everything in my power not to duplicate that mistake.

Suffice to say, I could write for days about character, it is so important; but in the world of IM’s, texts, tweets, Instagram and every other form of digital media you aren’t required to have Character.  All you need is a keyboard, a screen name and a valid email address.  You’re measured by how many followers you have, what’s your Klout score, how many connections are on your Linkedin profile.  You don’t even have to be real, you can hide behind avatars or thumbnails and pretend to be someone completely different.  So the expectation of actually having character and actively managing it, is like planning to trip to Mars.  One day we will get there.  

How about we try something different?  How about we go back to believing in character?  How about we start championing good character when we see it?  What do you think will happen if we make character more important than celebrity?  I have my ideas, now prove me wrong.

– Dean McKinney

I have partnered with a brilliant woman to create an organization that is developing, supporting and promoting a platform that allows individuals to move from where they are to where they want to be – moving into your Greatness as we see it.  Please feel free to check out our blog at www.madaboutsuccess/blog.com and share your thoughts.  Also keep an eye out for upcoming events and speakers in the Miami area.

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