Almost every business guru will teach you to define your goals. Far fewer talk about your values. Yet we can enjoy a greater feeling of achievement when our goals that have been set, and achieved in alignment with, our values. (Value Based Goals.)
There is usually more than one route to achieving your goals. And the more general your goals are, the more ways there will be to achieve them.
For example, if your goal is to make $1 million, there are almost limitless ways in which this can be done. However, the moment you define a set of values you are most likely going to eliminate many of these possibilities.
This is actually a very good thing. It may feel like you are reducing your options, and it may be a little extra work up front, but doing so will keep you more focused and excited about your path to achieving this goal.
I have met countless people who claim they care about the world, or want to do good, but first they just need to make enough money so they can afford to do so.
It is precisely this false logic that has lead to the global deteriation that we can see around us. I have met many people who have achieved significant wealth, yet their financial goals keep moving. They can never reach the finish line as it just keeps getting further away. And over time many of their original core values have increasingly been consciously, or subconsciously, compromised.
My suggestion to you is this…
Start by clearly defining your values, then define your goals and action steps based on these values. A few examples might be:
To take care of, and provide for, my family
To conduct my business with integrity
To seek solutions that allow my business to operate in the most environmentally sustainable way possible
To ensure that all people involved with my business, directly or indirectly, are not harmed, abused, or taken advantage of in any way
To create a product or service that improves on existing competition
To leave the world a better place for my being here
To give back and share my success with others
To treat others the way I believe they would want to, and deserve to, be treated
To avoid living a life driven by greed
To live with awareness and consciousness of my environment and the people whose lives I touch
To be honest with myself and others
Of course, these are just a few suggestions to get you started. You need to define your own set of values that are meaningful and congruent to yourself.
When you surround yourself by a particular group of people, it is all too common for your principles to begin to change. This is why it is important to always refer back to your values list, and check whether those you are spending time with also reflect these values.
Check the presentation I made for a more ideas on how to design a better business (if you have not already done so).
When people ask you what you do for a living, when you explain to your kids how you make money, and when you look back on your life, do you want to be proud of what you have achieved?
Goals and valuesMy guess is yes. Just about every person I have ever spoken to feels this way. Yet most are secretly not as proud of their achievements (or their methods of achievement) as they would like to be.
This feeling does not change itself. Start today by setting a clear list of values, and make the decision to start living by them.
When your values become challenged, which they will, look for alternative solutions to get the same end result without sacrificing them. There is usually a way, it is often just a matter of being patient and looking hard enough.
Sometimes you may need to be creative. For example, If you currently drive as part of your business, and you can’t afford to go electric, commit to planting ten trees for every 10,000 kms of driving.
There are many various estimates, but each year approximately ten trees can balance the CO2 from up to 20,000km of driving. If you donate to a charity such as www.trees.org, they will plant ten trees for just $1.
A simple commitment to donating $1 to a charity such as this for every 10,000 km can help offset, and give back double, to your transportation CO2 emissions.
This is obviously a simple and low cost example. But once you start looking for solutions you often find there are many simple answers that can help make sure your business, and your life, lives up to your Value Based Goals.