Values that enable success in life
As a new leader, my manager at the time advised me to think about what my ‘values’ were as these were a crucial element in being authentic in the role and would help to set me up for success in life.
It took some time, soul-searching and reflection to come up with what I believe are the traits, habits and characteristics that lead to success in many aspects of life, your career and relationships. By the end of this article you will understand what’s important to me and hopefully inspire you to think more about what you believe in. If you already have your own values then fantastic, I would love to hear about them and the impact they’ve had on your success in life.
Being as I work in a corporate environment, there is no way I could create such a list without a catchy acronym to accompany what I believe in so as a result, PACE was born. Let’s explore these 4 key traits in detail…
‘P’ is for Perception
A popular piece of advice that gets thrown around a lot, is to not worry about what others think of you, and to some extent I agree with this. You absolutely need to be true to yourself, and live your own life to be truly happy.
However, thinking that you can get by, and be successful, without paying attention to your brand and people’s perception of you is destined only for a life of unfulfilled potential.
We share this planet with over 7 billion people and every single person you have any form of contact with will form some sort of opinion of you. Whether that be meeting someone in person, or chatting over email/phone with them. Whether that is passing someone as you walk down the street or ordering a coffee from someone in a coffee shop. Even the person behind you in the coffee queue will form an opinion of you. A big one in today’s modern age that our parents did not need to contend with, is what you post and share on social media. Without realising it you are giving hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to form an opinion of you, whether good or bad.
Forming an opinion or ‘judging’ people may not be an endearing quality but the reality is that it is human nature and it happens to all but the best of us. According to a Forbes article, a tenth of a second is all it takes for us to start determining traits like trustworthiness and within 7 seconds people will already have formed an impression of who you are.
Many of these opinions won’t have any notable impact on your life, but there are some opinions that have the potential to completely change the course of it; for better or for worse.
Take the person who serves you in the coffee shop as an example; whilst how you treat that person may seem insignificant at the time, what if they went on to become the hiring manager somewhere that you went to interview in a few years later? Or take that person who you barged passed in the street, maybe, just maybe, they are the best friend of Mr/Mrs Right that you haven’t yet met – it’s going to be a lot harder to make that relationship work when their best friend already has a negative perception of you.
In a work and career context it is arguably even more important to pay attention to how others perceive you. Maybe somebody overhears a private joke that may not paint you in the best light or you get a reputation as a bit of a gossip because you contribute to the office rumor mill. Perhaps you are running late for work and have to share the elevator to your floor with an important decision maker in the company. That person soon realizes that it is 9:05am and that everyone’s shift normally starts on the hour. All of these things have a direct impact on you and your future prospects in that (and other) companies.
Too often in life, I see people who do not appear to be as brand aware as what they should be. Although my opinion of them will likely never have any impact on that person’s life whatsoever, maybe one day our paths will cross and they could be looking for something from me or I could hold the key to brightening their future in some manner. Those previous impressions I have of them are going to make it that much harder for the full potential of that situation to be realized.
Why take the chance of making life harder for yourself in the future? Always be mindful of your actions and other people’s perception of you and it just might open doors for you that otherwise might not have been opened.
‘A’ is for Accountability
Taking accountability and ownership for your own actions and decisions is an essential behavior in achieving your goals. In business, relationships and life in general I often hear people blaming others or playing down the impact/severity of what happened.
It is not easy to put your hand up and admit that you have made a mistake, or that you should have done something differently. The easy way out is to pass the blame on to someone, or something else. Often known as ‘passing the buck’.
We all make mistakes, no one is perfect – but you need to own your mistakes rather than trying to sweep them under the carpet.
Rarely do you hear the story of someone who is successful in business, or their career, that has not made at least one big mistake prior to becoming successful. But here’s the thing, a mistake is only really a mistake if you make it more than once. The first time was merely an experiment that didn’t quite work out as planned. These successful people took ownership and accountability of their mistakes and ensured that they learned from them for the next time round. Failing to take accountability leads to the same mistakes being made time and time again.
The next time you make a mistake or your actions somehow adversely impact someone else then own it, put your hand up and take responsibility for the role you played in the outcome – whilst there may be a bit of short term pain from doing so, you will be far better in the long run if you make this a habit.
‘C’ is for Control
Do you know people who stress and worry about absolutely everything – you know, the type of person that if everything was perfect in the world, that they would worry about the fact that they have nothing to worry about?
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things that you could potentially be worried about in your life, but the sooner you start to realize that a lot of it is outside of your control the sooner you will start to sleep a bit better at night.
There are things in life that we can control and things in life that we can influence (some of these we can influence heavily, like what food the family will eat for the rest of the week, and others we only have a small amount of influence over such, as a government election). But there are many things that we have absolutely no influence or control over whatsoever.
I see all too often, people getting worried, upset, frustrated or angry about things that are outside of their control. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly empathize with this when it comes to the health of a family member or a natural disaster wreaking havoc on a region as an example, but when it comes to everyday things then the more you can concentrate on the stuff you can do or can influence as opposed to the stuff that is way out of your control then the better off you will be.
As a leader I have seen time and time again that those individuals who get on with it and don’t let business decisions outside of their control phase or distract them, are always the ones who end up being more successful in their role. Those that dwell on, and get consumed by, things outside of their control invariably end up becoming less and less engaged and either eventually leave, or are that moaning voice in a team that brings everyone else down. The more you roll with the punches, get on with it and not let things outside of you control worry you, the better off you will be in the long run.
‘E’ is for Effort
If you have seen the famous Guinness advert then you’ll be familiar with the slogan ‘Good things come to those who wait’. As I assessed my values and looked back on how I had been raised, it came to me that the amended version of ‘good things come to those that work for it’ was something that was important to me. Initially I thought of it only in a business/career context, but as I thought about it over time, it dawned on me that it also applies to everything else in life as well.
Let me clarify that by this, I am not advocating, or suggesting, that everyone should work a 70-hour week when they are only paid for 40. What I mean by this is that effort is required in making sure you are present in whatever task you are doing, and you are giving it 110%. Effort, focus or dedication could easily be used interchangeably within this context (except PACF and PACD don’t have quite the same ring to them as PACE).
Some people have the good grace of seemingly ‘having all the luck’, but the reality for most of us is that we have to work hard to achieve the things we want from life – and this takes a whole lot of effort.
PACE is something that I believe in and live by. Since defining and living by these philosophies I genuinely believe that it already has, and will continue to, contribute to success in life.
Taking time to think through your own values gives you the chance to assess what is important to you, and what attributes you value in others – by identifying and living life by your values it ensures that you are being true to yourself and when all is said and done, you will be able to rest in peace in the knowledge that you lived your life in the manner that is important to you.
By all means incorporate all, or elements of, PACE into your own values if you feel it will be of benefit. I would love to hear what values you have, or you create, and the impact of these on your life. Just remember that when you pull your own list together that everything is better with a catchy acronym!
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