Last week, I shared the #1 Lesson I’ve learned from writing my best-selling book, “The Two-Week Notice.” In that lesson, I discovered that the way to serve your clients and those around you, the deepest, is by stepping into their shoes and understanding their biggest needs, wants, desires and fears.
By knowing your facts about your audience, you can create a powerful community and tribe of ambitious, grateful fans who will take what they have learned, apply it and make a difference in the world.
But that was just 1 of the Top Lessons I learned.
Today, I would like to move away from focusing on external factors and go inwards to self-development and personal growth. While my personal development journey started long before I wrote my book, major shifts happened throughout the entire writing journey…along my own entrepreneurial journey.
Let’s have a look at the 2nd Biggest Lesson I learned from chasing this dream even when others didn’t support me – more of the ‘knows’ I discovered throughout all the no’s.
Much like the core values you will set for your company or brand, your top personal values are there to help guide your behavior and choices as an entrepreneur. They will not only influence your actions, but they will define your surrounding culture and the company you keep. Think the famous adage: “you become the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.” By knowing what drives your decisions in life, you will be able to purposefully select who you choose to have in the vehicle with you.
By knowing your core values, you will not only be much more conscious and quicker in your decision-making, but you will know what’s most important to focus on in the first place.
Billionaire entrepreneur (by monetary means and by Jason Silva’s new definition), Richard Branson is famously noted for saying:
“To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.”
I would argue here that ‘essentials’ simply come from well-defined core values.
Looking a bit deeper into Richard Branson’s history as an entrepreneur, his core values and focuses have always been on serving his customers and providing an unforgettable experience (read last week’s article on how to add massive value to your clients). In addition, his values have been focused on following creative instincts, minimizing risk, doing business in new ways and always having fun. This is a big reason why Branson has come so far in his career. He’s always asked, “why not,” and with similar clarity of focus, you can also be successful not only in your partnerships, but also in your friendships and relationships.
So, What Did the Book Writing Process Teach Me About Core Values?
When I initially approached Andrew and Sulinya to write a book about ‘living an unconventional life,’ I had no idea (or expectations) about where exactly our book would take us, I could only envision some benchmarks and desired outcomes for where I would have liked to be.
One of the first questions I asked the three of us was, “what is our objective – what is our desired outcome for this book?” I learned this method from a book that was written when I was just two years old.
In his international best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Habit, Stephen Covey urges all people (not just entrepreneurs), to begin with the end in mind. With Andrew, Sulinya and I nailing down our desired outcomes before starting our book writing journey, we laid a foundation that guided the focus of the book, it’s themes and it’s target audience.
But without first knowing our top individual core values, we would have not been able to discover our individual desired outcomes, let alone, our collective desired outcomes.
Personally, my Top 3 Core Values have been Personal Growth, Freedom and Happiness for quite some time now. With writing The Two-Week Notice, I not only wanted to share these values with the world, I also wanted to enlighten others that self-love, self-appreciation and self-development are not only good for the soul, they are necessary for personal evolution.
How Can You Define Your Top 3 Core Values?
To begin discovering your core values, it’s important to define what motivates you in business and in life. Identifying these is very important when visualizing where you want to go. Remember, begin with the end in mind, and it is important to remember that your core values may change and evolve because you will change and evolve.
Here are a few prompts to help you start figuring out your personal Top 3 Core Values:
[Success, Balance, Connections, Health, Love, Culture, Inspiration, Integrity, Security, Family, Intimacy, Nature, Passion, Energy, Freedom, Recognition, Career, Stability]
As you find similar terms and come up with a selection of about 25-30 values, do a quick, but essential exercise by narrowing down this selection to your Top 10. From there and one-by-one, continue removing the least important (it will become more and more difficult) until you end up with your final three values. Now, rank those in their top 3 respective positions.
What Happens If I’m Not Vibin’ with My Core Values As Much As I Thought I Would?
Now, you may be wondering how you can test your core values against the test of time and circumstance? First, speak and affirm them each morning when you wake up. Then, test them thoroughly through your daily decision-making. If you come to realize that they aren’t meshing well, do the same exercise over and over again till you find ones that fit well.
Personally, I have been doing this exercise each year for close to 12 years and my values have changed multiple times, but knowing them in the first place has not only helped serve as my internal GPS, they have also helped me to get to know myself better.
The Two-Week Notice came out of conscious and deliberate intention, planning and creation. Consciousness and deliberate intention comes from knowing what motivates us. Knowing what motivates us comes from discovering our top core values.
And, discovering our top core values comes from paying attention to even the smaller things in life. That is the impact we are looking to make with The Two-Week Notice. Join us.
[Thanks for reading – we aren’t done yet – tune back in over the coming weeks for more of the BIG lessons Alex learned from writing a best-selling book.]
You can buy the book here