Staying true to your core values
Be you, bravely.
Have you ever asked yourself what are your core values? How does your life is shaped? What are the negotiables and non-negotiables in your relationships, at work and even with your family?
Well, let me share a small, but significantly founding. The same way that companies define their mission, vision and values, you can do it yourself. And it helps to understand yourself better. Why? Because if your outer world does not match your inner world, you will feel misaligned and frustrated with life. But don't worry, there is always a solution to every problem.
Some years ago, I went to an interview for a job position that was quite 'high up the ladder' in an HR company. After an initial phone call to get to know each other, the offer sounded fantastic. It was an exciting project, under a good company name, and I was extremely excited to "potentially" be part of this challenge.
The first interview went pretty well. I met my' future bosses' and understood a bit more about the position. By the time I made it to the third interview, we were already talking about working hours, contract types, fees to charge, and goals. I was 90% convinced about the job, but I thought to myself: you can't always have it all.
In that final interview, we suddenly started talking about targets. One of those people who would soon be my boss said; 'Vicky, these are the numbers you have to reach by the end of the month — these by the end of the quarter — and this is the bonus you will get if you hit your yearly goals.'
I said to myself: "Fair enough. That's doable."
Afterwards, my future boss, now in a more comfortable position, sat back in his chair, crossed his leg and put his arm on the chair, and assertively continued: 'And you know what? At the end of the day, we are a capitalist company. Yeah, we work with and for people, but to be honest, people are just a number for us. We don't care beyond that.'
My brain immediately switched off from this conversation (and from the room), and I stared at him absent-minded and rumbling in my head like a hamster in the wheel trying to find a logic behind those words desperately. I asked myself these two questions:
1).-Am I aligned with the values this person is sharing with me?
2).-Do I want to report to a person with this mindset?
That was the end of the interview.
Staying Aligned with Your Core Values
I know this is not the magic potion for everyone. The reality is that we all need to work, and sometimes we give in because we need to 'pay the bills.' However, I had learned from experience that if I gave in and took that job, I would find myself taking too many sick days, or endless holidays, to try to relax and rid myself of the stress that comes from working in a place that did not fit with my mindset. I would find myself frustrated and demotivated or (the best-case scenario) simply not loving what I did.
In my more than 15 years in business and coaching, I have learned that you have to be consistent in what you do. That's a recipe for success.
For all you entrepreneurs and corporate leaders out there, if you want to lead a good business, you must promote people who believe in people — people who have that 'weird' talent called 'being human'.
At the foundation of everything should be empathy— and as my grandmother always says, work always starts at home. In other words, it starts with you.
With that in mind, next time you find yourself considering your next move in life, go and have a coffee with yourself. Sit down in a lovely local café, somewhere that makes you feel at home and relaxed, and hold a genuine, honest conversation with your present and your future selves. And ask those two selves:
· What do you want?
· What values do you want to see in the people around you?
· How hard are you willing to work to make that happen?
· What concessions are you ready to make to have a balanced and fulfilled life?
I am no Mother Teresa. I do not judge or blame those who want to work in a competitive, savage business environment. Do you like it? Go and get it. It's all yours.
The point of my story is that it wasn't for me.
That final sentence said at the end of multiple long job interviews, and endless negotiations in between hit me so hard and made so much 'noise' that it helped me (quickly) step down.
Why? Because I listened to myself, to what I knew at my core was right for me, not for them. I did what was best for my future, not for their present. It was bold and was risky, but hey! I can assure you it was the wisest choice.
My message to you is: BE REAL.
Mean what you promise and deliver what you mean, 100% of the time. Be transparent — in your intentions and your goals, in your achievements and your failures.
Know yourself better.
Make an impact.
Take that leap of faith and start that necessary new chapter in your life. Always strive to become a better version of yourself, no matter what side of the negotiation table you are on.
In short, stay true to your core values.
Vicky is a qualified Branding Consultant, Business and Leadership Coach, Speaker and Author with certifications in NLP and TimeLine Therapy® and Magna Cum Laude from Solvay Business School in Brussels, Belgium. With her universe of words, she is on a quest towards helping leaders reconnect with themselves, thrive and move towards an exemplary leadership world.
Her 16 years of MarCom experience in International Branding and Multicultural Leadership have taught her how to bring beauty out of chaos in any organisation and people's professional lives.
Her findings within the fragmented leadership, have moved her to start working towards a more authentic business world and more humane leadership culture.
Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org