We often find ourselves in unpredictable situations where we have to choose between right and wrong. This is not the time to decide where you stand. I believe if you are going to achieve greatness you must pre- determine what your value system is beforehand. What is it that really matters to you in terms of moral character, integrity in business and generally having a reference point from which you make decisions? If you are going to be truly self-led and be true to yourself you need to have clear moral, ethical or spiritual values.
I am sure you have heard it said before that when you are in Rome do as the Romans do. It sounds good if the intention is relevance and blending in with societal norms so that you do not become a misfit. It is not good advice if you must now bend your values and behave like a chameleon that changes its colour to suit its surroundings. Character inconsistencies cannot be your portion if you are going to be a self- led person of high integrity. It is important to know what your values are so that you are consistent in your character, making your actions predictable in whatever environment you find yourself in.
I remember how I was once inconsistent as a youth during my boarding school days. There was a time when it was frowned upon to enjoy and listen to secular music in our Christian circles. So we all publicly declared that we would not listen to secular music. Being in boarding school, it was easy to “uphold” this value during the school term. After all, the opportunities for exposure were few and far between. The story would change when it was time for the school holidays. As soon as I got home, I would be the first one to turn up the volume on the radio. My favourite radio station played secular hits all day and I was now in my element and enjoyed myself.
Now, you might be thinking that what I have just shared is peer-pressure for a teenage high school student. How many times have we in our adult lives stood for what we believed in when it was convenient and backed down when it was uncomfortable to stay true to our ethical values? We often go for expedience rather than what we believe is the right thing to do. Therefore, there is need to clarify our values so that they become a compass that directs our path, shapes our decisions and guides what we prioritize.
Clear values are the cornerstones upon which life is built. These are non-negotiable guiding principles that determine what you will or will not do whether someone is watching or not, whether you get caught or not. They are a mechanism for self-accountability. Values will steer you in the right direction in your school, job, marriage or wherever you find yourself. It takes talent to be a success but clear values are the backbone of sustained success. It does not matter which way the wind blows; you are firm, solid and grounded in what you believe in.
Values simplify life because you have made up your mind as to who you are and from then onward you are simply maintaining them. You need to determine what your values are in terms of your spiritual life, family, intellectual life, wellness, fitness, personal wealth, business and your career. When you come unstuck and you do not know what to do refer to your values. I once worked for a business that had a “code of business principles” that they adhered to with all strictness even if it meant shutting down operations in certain countries. As far as I can remember they never flinched. Did it cost them some opportunities? Yes! They suffered major setbacks in terms of the operations of the business but the company survived the terrible times.
You may be challenged to bend the rules and cut corners for instant gratification and temporary gains particularly when the times are tough economically. It’s possible that you will not get that big order, miss the opportunity to make quick, easy money, that’s alright! I was once fired from a job as a sales manager because I was not producing sales results. I never seemed to be able to close a sale because the buyers with the big “bucks” expected to be bribed. It was against my values and I lost out because I stood my ground. Be true to your values, let the opportunity pass and I guarantee you will survive and emerge on the other side with your integrity, reputation and values intact. You will be able to attract opportunities where that kind of integrity is a requirement for success.
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