The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has received praise for its business philosophy and mission. Its mission statement, “we’re in business to save the home planet” clearly expresses the need (“save”!), the means (“business”) and why it matters—and why you should help by fulfilling your role as a customer—“the home planet”. Their values dovetail nicely with their product because they force the gaze toward what you can appreciate while wearing their clothing—nature.
So how can you, as a business person, live your values? It may be easy to do when everything’s going your way. But what about when you’re under pressure? What about during bad times?
It turns out, you can leverage the power of the mind to help you stand by those values no matter how choppy the water.
Know Yourself First
A recent Forbes article took a deep dive into the subject of understanding your values. And this is the first step in living your values no matter what the climate. The article suggests paying close attention to how you feel. We feel comfortable, confident, more at ease and less in conflict when we are living close to our values. If we’re feeling anger and anxiety, we’re likely doing something that just doesn’t “feel right” to us. Because, according to our own personal moral compass, whatever we’re doing isn’t right.
How to Identify Your Values
We may think we know ourselves but then feel surprised when we find ourselves without an answer at a moral crossroads. According to the Forbes article, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help find your moral bearings.
- Pay attention to your choices. Observe yourself and the decisions you make, then ask yourself why you made them. What was your thought process? Then ask what the value was behind that decision. Keep a list and see what emerges repeatedly. Those are your values.
- Learn from your experience. Evaluate when you felt proud of yourself and when you didn’t.
- Look at your happy, sad and proud times. Reflect on what made them that way. It will likely show you times when you were in and out of alignment with your values.
- List your top values and reflect on them. Whether the list is long or short, putting it down on paper helps you really consider them. And likely, help you see patterns and connections that make you who you are.
Take Comfort in Who You Are
In times of struggle, it may be helpful to revisit your identity and remind yourself just who you are and how you got there. This re-visiting yourself can help cultivate compassion toward yourself (no beating yourself up!) and help you navigate challenges.
To Your Continued Success,