Hey there, you’re listening to They Don’t Teach This in Business School, a podcast about lessons learned on the business owner journey that only experience can teach. I’m Julie Bee, and I’m really glad you’re here today with me.
A few weeks ago, I published an episode about self-leadership and going back to the start – I’ll put that episode in the show notes. But in that episode, I promised to share my updates from my own journey as I go along this path – so that’s what I’m doing today. And the first step is rediscovering or redefining your core values.
Before I get into that, though, I want to mention my new mastermind program, the Braving Burnout program. You can check out more in the show notes, but if you’re interested – apply soon. It starts in May! And burnout ties into what I’m talking about today, because if you don’t know your core values, and you end up making decisions that are out of alignment with them, that can lead to burnout for sure.
Now I have a process I go through when I need to re-discover my personal values and, let me tell you – I’m glad I don’t have to do this very often. It is hard work – mentally and emotionally challenging at times. So give yourself some time and space for this.
The first step to finding core values is to identify a few hard decisions or moments from the past few years that, looking back, you’re particularly proud of. These can be decisions or moments from any part of your life – work, personal, spiritual, financial, family – any part of your life.
One reason you’re looking for decisions and moments you’re proud of is because usually somewhere in those moments, you were living your core values. If you’re proud of what you did, your core values were in there somewhere. The other reason you do this is so that you have examples of what it looks like to embody your personal core values.
To do this exercise, I usually suggest you set a time limit of up to one hour and write down as many proud moments that come up for you – no judgment – just write them down. For me, two of my proud moments that made the initial list included firing someone and also using debt in a way that some would deem irresponsible. Again – no judgment – YOU get to decide what made you proud. If you felt proud of a decision, put it on this list you’re brainstorming.
Once you have that list – walk away from it for a few days. Let it settle. After it settles, go back to the list and select the 5 decisions you’re most proud of, out of that list. Keep it to 5.
For each of those 5 selected decisions, you then write down what you considered in making those decisions, the feelings you had while going through that process, and finally the driving factors in those decisions – including any pros and cons you considered. You don’t need to write a novel or in full, complete sentences here. You’ll probably have about 3 to 5 lines of text for each decision.
I want to take a breath and say this is hard work, but necessary work – especially if, like me, you’re redefining your core values. And this is basically where I am in this process for myself.
SPACE FOR CHRIS
Hey, you’re listening to They Don’t Teach This in Business School, I’m Julie Bee, and in this episode I’m sharing the first step in redefining or rediscovering your personal core values…which is the first step in self-leadership.
The first step is all about reviewing past decisions you’re proud of – you’re looking for 5 – and then writing a bit about each of those decisions. As promised, I said I’d share some of my personal process with you. Out of a list of about 20 decisions I’m proud of from my recent past, I’m going to share with you the 5 I’m MOST proud of. These are the ones I’m working through the rest of the process – which I’ll record in future episodes. I’m comfortable sharing each decision, but I’m not going to share ALL the details of each because some of it is too personal to share, even for me.
Alright, so here are my five decisions I’m proud of from the recent past:
First, deciding to stay married to my wife. Like most relationships, we had some rocky times. I’m not going to go into details at all on this one, but let’s just say that I’m really proud of this decision.
The second decision was another big, personal decision. The decision to not have kids. I’m proud of that one, too. Some of the main reasons I made that decision was my own health, wellness, and freedom.
Third decision was going out on a limb and hiring an individual for one of my companies before I was ready. Prior to this decision, I was friends with this person and we were also working closely together in a volunteer organization. I was scared as hell of failing and the possible fall out from it. AND I moved forward with hiring and that relationship has worked out better than I could have ever imagined.
Fourth decision was deciding that I have outgrown my first business, my baby, the thing I’ve built from the ground up. I have made the decision to exit that business, and I’m really proud of myself for making the call. I’m still the owner of the business and working in it a little each day, but the decision has been made and a plan has been set in motion for me to exit in a few years.
And the fifth decision was to abruptly resign from a leadership position in a volunteer organization. In corporate terms, I was basically the President of this volunteer organization, and I resigned with 5 days’ notice. This decision had the potential to cost me friendships and relationships that I treasured, but I made the choice because the sacrifices I was making in other areas of my life weren’t worth it.
Phew – I feel like I just confessed some deep, dark secrets to you all, but not really. These are decisions that I’m glad I made – they were the right decisions for me. Those are the five decisions I’m reviewing now to help me identify my core values. Some themes are already emerging – boundaries, wellness, taking risks, being ok with being uncomfortable – but we’re not quite on that step yet.
So here’s where I am in this process. I’ve completed step one and I’m onto the second step of redefining my core values. The second step is to review the impact those five decisions had on my life – the good and the bad; the upside and the downside of each. I know, from doing this in the past, that the first two steps are the hardest in this core values process, so I’m halfway through the hardest part of it.
And remember, we’re down in the weeds of a bigger, overall process I’m going through – the process of getting back to self-leadership. But I will say that this core values piece is the hardest part of all of it – so hang in there with me.
But for now, I’m going to take a step back and let this work settle for a bit before going onto step two. Once I have that process done, I’ll share it with you in a future episode. So stay tuned for more great content on They Don’t Teach This in Business School – we’ve got interviews, org charts, and a whole bunch of other topics that business owners learn along the way on this journey. Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back soon with another episode.