Wise Men Fashion Themselves
“Carpenters bend wood. Fletchers bend arrows. Wise men fashion themselves.”
– The Buddha core values
What Do You Stand For?
Core values are guiding principles that dictate our behavior and action. Just as a carpenter shapes the wood in the shape he needs and the fletcher creates a straight arrow. And the wise control their mind and shape it as it should be.
Living in today’s “almost transparent” world of information is just a Google click away. Thus, it is essential to ‘stand for’ something. Many a times, in order to adapt a variety of situations, we take on a variety of personas.
In the process of pleasing the people we encounter in our daily lives, we often confuse ourselves. Do you know yourself? Are you able to communicate what value you can bring to your organization? Family? Partner? Social circle?
Successful people are the people who have gotten their act together. They know who they ARE deep within themselves, what they stand for and what they want from life. It is about being authentic. Authenticity will not take place if you try to be someone else or living up to someone else’s expectation.
Do you have a personal mission statement? What qualities or characteristics that you possess sets you apart from your competitors or your colleagues? If you were to write an elevator speech how does your bare bone summary of what you do sounds?
What do you value most? In your work? Relationship? Life? Community? The boundaries between work, relationship, family and community are not as clear-cut as they used to be. In this age, they must somehow be aligned with one another. Authenticity means that your life is aligned and your thoughts are congruent.
How do you want to be perceived? Is it congruent with how you are perceived now?
Examine Your Core Values
WHO are you? WHAT do you stand for? Core values are part of who you are. It guides your behaviour and thought patterns. One of the biggest hurdle in our pursuit of happiness, career success, and social interactions is the lack of clarity about our values.
The preoccupation with cultural, societal and media values distorts our perception of who we really are. The first step is to embark on the process of self-discovery. It just requires you to think hard and examine, among other things – your core values, your mission in life and your vision of your own future.
This exercise requires you to suspend judgment and cast aside all the usual descriptors at work that you depend on to fit into an organizational structure.
In short, forget your job title. And the little letters that comes after your name. Forget about the LLBs, BAs, BScs, etc. Instead, ask yourself: “what are the personal accomplishments that make me proud, ignites my passion and gives meaning to my life?”
What Do YOU Want To Be Famous For?
Once you have answered that, ask yourself one more question. Yes. That Tom Peters question. “What do I want to be famous for?”
Be astounded by the process of this exercise because once you know yourself better, you know your place in this universe. Management guru Peter Drucker once noted that:
“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their methods of work and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person … into an outstanding performer.”