Let us explore the first factor that underpins empowerment – Core Values. To recap, from my previous article 8 Things to Judge if you are Empowered,empowered individuals know their core values and use them to make choices. Their choices are in harmony with their inner selves and they are at peace.
What are core values?
The definition of core values is “the belief or principle a person views as being of central importance” The emphasis is on being of central importance. The implication is that these are only a few values that are of central importance to an individual throughout their lives. If you have many core values, it is very hard to stay true to them all.
When I think of the some heroes, these core values pop into my head. It is because they have become synonymous with these values.
Nelson Mandela – Resilience and Reconciliation
Mother Teresa – Love and Service
Abraham Lincoln – Integrity and Equality
Mahatma Gandhi – Truth and Nonviolence
As you can see these great people lived their values. Empowered individuals are comfortable with their core values and consistently use them to make the choices that are right for themselves.
Why are core values important?
In my article What you think, say and do can this be in harmony? I refer to the following:
“Life is full of choices. The life you lead is the consequence of these choices. Aligning your choices to your core values will give you harmony. Your core values influence how you think. That in turn will influence what you say and finally what you do”
Core values are fundamental in reaching harmony and happiness in aligning who you are with what you do.Core values if lived consistently will be the foundation for your personal brand. Others will know what you stand for, just like the heroes listed above. Especially true when you are the leader. The more consistent you are with your core values, the more respect you will get from your followers.
How to find out your core values?
Think about a couple of major decisions or stressful situations in your life. What were the values that helped you decide or resolve these issues. Sometimes values are not clearly identifiable. Think of other decisions or situations in your life and do the same exercise. There should be a pattern emerging with how you make choices in your life. That should give you clues to what your core values are. Write down these core values and choose a maximum of three that you have used consistently.
You could also ask a trusted colleague or mentor to identify what they see as your core values. My opinion is that your personal brand is what others think of you when you are not in the room. What you find out may be in line with your own evaluation or may give you a surprise.
Some questions to consider
How far will you go to up hold your core values?
For example, your core value is providing for your family. Would you, if you knew that you are going to lose your job, do whatever it takes to hold on to it? Would you sacrifice your happiness and continue in a well paying miserable job, to ensure that your family is able to enjoy the conditions that they are accustomed to? What would you sacrifice to ensure that you provide for your family?
How far will you go to ensure that those around you also respect your core values?
For example your core value is treating others with respect. Would you speak up, when you or one of colleagues are repeatedly bullied by your manager? What is the furthest you would go to live this core value?
How far will you go to instill your core values in others?
An example would be your core value is to deliver on promises. Your son is exactly the opposite. He just promises and never delivers. What would you do? Would you expect your son to follow your footsteps? How far will you go to instill your values in your children?
As you can see, adhering to your core values can be tricky in practice. How you answer these questions will help you know yourself better. Some of you may be very rigid in adhering to your core values, while others may be more flexible. I hope these questions help you define your boundaries and what you are comfortable with.
The more you know yourself and your core values, the better you are able to respond to your environment. You will become stronger and more confident in controlling your life. This in turn will give you the confidence to claim your rights.
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