Today I want to talk about core values and the significance they play in our lives.

The guiding principles for me and my business are definitely honesty, transparency, integrity, empathy and authenticity. I realize that a couple of those seem redundant so I want to expound upon (for you and I both) exactly how I differentiate them.

Honesty is simply telling the truth. If you ask me something what you get you can believe and take to the bank. Frankly my primary reason for that is it just is far less stressful than trying to remember what false statement I made and to whom. The second value of transparency means my intentions are pure. When I do something there is no hidden agenda.

Number three on the list is integrity. The dictionary defines integrity to be aligned with morals. I’m not entirely sure how my morals compare to other people. Rather than look to a book or leader to tell me what to do I look to my heart. And what my heart tells me is if it would be painful or hurtful to me then I don’t want to perpetrate that on anyone else. In the simplest form that translates to if you can’t say something nice then keep your trap shut. My job is to build people up not tear them down. Therefore integrity is sort of a synonym for the golden rule in my book.

Empathy is pretty self explanatory. It is a very big and sometimes mean world. Everyone out there has their own struggles. For me empathy runs closely alongside the idea of being non-judgmental. I do my best to see everyone in the kindest of light. Even people in my life who have treated me with less than kindness get all the acceptance and forgiveness I can manage. I strive to acknowledge they are on their own journey and their actions were probably not really about me.

Finally we have authenticity. This again looks a bit like a couple of the others, however, in my life it means accepting myself as an original and acting from that place of uniqueness every day. It is that acceptance and love of myself that enables me to be kinder and more accepting of others.

I am not 100% on these values every day. There are times when, as a human being, I simply bend the rules. But what it means to have identified them is that I immediately realize when I have done so and the feeling I get is very uncomfortable. I don’t always fix it instantly, but I almost always repair it if given the opportunity.

Knowing our values allows us to put side by side every decision we make with what we’ve determined to be important to us, thereby reducing or eliminating future stress on ourselves and others. Living that way is not always easy on the surface, but in the long run I anticipate having far fewer regrets and would wish the same for my readers.