“This is how I want to behave. This is how I want to be that demonstrates my values. Values are what we do.”
My son moved in with me in August of 2016. He’s been making good grades and has started making good friends at his new school.
However, the last six weeks his grades suffered.
Who is at fault?
Let me explain.
Here’s What Happened
I was sitting in the living room in a big comfortable rocking chair.
I received a work-related email.
It was 8:30 p.m. on a school night. James was finishing his homework, and he was sitting at the kitchen table asking a question.
Honestly, I could not believe the email I received. The tone of the sender signaled passive-aggression and alluded that I wasn’t doing my job. I had butterflies in my stomach. Fear had gripped me. For the first time, I was afraid that I was going to lose a major client.
I had increased this company’s organic traffic by 98 percent year over year. No joke. More visitors were hitting this company’s website than ever before. Conversions were up. Everything was groovy… so I thought.
In that moment of gripping fear and deep resentment, my 11-year-old son started saying, “Dad.” He obviously wanted something.
But I didn’t hear him. I just reread the email on my phone and tried to figure out how to respond.
“Dad” increased in volume until it was a full yell.
I got so angry at my son. I yelled at him back, “Just wait a minute!!!”
He said something ugly and then something about homework and went to his room. I didn’t blame him. That’s not like me, and I had been on edge for several weeks. I immediately felt shame.
I finally saw – after several weeks of being mentally checked out – that my obsession with work was seeping into my home and influencing how I treat others, like my son.
My Values were Clashing
My values were competing with one another.
On the one hand, I wanted to be a great consultant. On the other hand, I wanted to help my son while being present and nice.
Many days these last six weeks were like this with little attention to my little guy. I was short with him and inattentive. Don’t get me wrong, he still ate and I went to all his soccer games, but I was mentally checked out.
Values Should Guide Your Actions
A few years ago, I was at a large corporation doing communication consulting and some new values came down the pipe.
The leadership kept saying, this is how we want you to act. But they were terms like, be respectful, have integrity, be honest, be innovative.
I knew in principle how to apply that to my life, but it was kind of a no-brainer. Of course, I’m going to be nice and do the right thing.
These are not the values I am talking about. These types of values are just neat, cute sayings that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Being a good dad and wanting to overperform in your job are both values. These two values dictate how I behave on a daily basis. And if I don’t behave in accordance with these values, my life is probably pretty miserable because I am going to feel failure.
But what happens when these values collide? I’m usually left confused, frustrated and unsure what to do since I have not properly prioritized them.
Values are how you want to behave. It’s how you want to be that demonstrates your personal value. Values guide what you do and the action you take.
What I Learned about Value Propositions
Often I see that my clients don’t know what they should value, especially in business.
For a living, I build value propositions for businesses and propagate that message out through the various marketing channels available to a company.
But lately, I’ve been doing this value proposition work with college kids and middle managers who have hit a wall in corporate America. I call the project, pitchyourvalue.com.
I learned that value propositions actually are more for the person making them than their customers.
Value propositions guide your work
Here an example of one for someone in corporate America: “Bringing transparency to an organization to make it more profitable.”
Believe it or not… this took a while to dig deep enough to find out that this person was passionate about transparency. We also brainstormed enough so this person could prove that she valued transparency and was qualified in case she was ever asked.)
And we both jointly discovered that if this person is working for a company that does not value transparency, she will probably be miserable. Also, if the opportunity presents itself to bring transparency to the organization, and she does not, she will go against what she values most. That’s not a fun place to be.
But the point here is that when she finally starts pushing for her value, that’s when she will bring the most value to her organization. When she starts focusing on what she values most, that’s when she will be the most valuable.
The same is true for a business. Once it starts pushing for its value — and has it extremely clear — that’s when they start seeing change.
So How Do You Find Your Value?
The value you find on top of the mountain is the same value you bring up the mountain.
It’s going to be hard to feel valued if you don’t know what you value, and it will be difficult to find the customer who needs that value if you cannot articulate it.
Below are three ways to find value.
Here’s a pretty good book on creating your own personal brand.
It’s what got me started on the value proposition train.
I also created a series of questions and brainstorms that I call Points on Paper, I made it into a digital process and sell subscriptions to it for $40. It’s the same process I take businesses and individuals through to find their value proposition. There’s also a free canvas on our website.
More About Points on Paper
Points on Paper is a business communication tool that transforms jumbled thoughts into concise points on paper. We created a structured and disciplined approach to thinking about and writing key messages. We sell access to our Message Map Maker and offer our Points on Paper process for free. Transform your jumbled thoughts into concise points on paper with a structured and disciplined method to think that quickly finds clarity @ https://pointsonpaper.com