By Paul Lemberg Let’s talk about values… Yours. What kind? Family values, personal values, corporate values. So what are values – and why are they important to creating breakthroughs? Values are things we strive to gain or keep. They are the expression of what is important to us. Values can be concrete things like money, gourmet food, and fast motorcycles, or they can be abstract things like contribution, challenge, or adventure. Values, along with our beliefs about what will satisfy our values, have a decisive impact on the choices we make. We make decisions based on our values. If we believe a proposed action will give us more of what we value, we are likely to take that action. And the degree to which we are likely to take that action, is proportional to the strength of our beliefs and how much we think the value will increase. We are constantly evaluating whether something is good for us or bad for us-in fact, we can’t help it. It’s part of our design as human beings. A hidden value system will cause you to make choices that are inexplicable-you will choose Option A over Option B, even though A seems logical. Why, because B violates your unconscious values system. You can use a consciously constructed values system to help turn your venture into a high performance machine. A lucid value system, out in the open-and arranged hierarchically-this is more important than that, and so on-turned into a values statement-serves as a guide in evaluating your options, and inventing new ones. In other words, if you understand the values that motivate you, you can deliberately choose actions which will satisfy those values. Which make you feel good, and keep you conflict-free, and internally consistent. You reduce or eliminate your personal friction, allowing you to easily take massive action towards your objectives. Your values statement also helps you align your various stakeholders, and have them acting in that same consistent way. Your values system also keeps you from making poor choices, which would throw you into personal conflict. Choices which make you unhappy and gum up the works. Well understood and clearly expressed values can propel you through the most difficult change periods, and keep you far ahead of the wandering herd. Here is a list of common (and uncommon) values. This list is neither complete nor definitive. It is a guide. Please add your own. Acceptance Achievement Adventure Affection Art Beauty Being Different Challenge Change Commitment Compassion Competition Confrontation Contribution Courage Creativity Detachment Ecstasy Efficiency Ethics Excellence Excitement Fame Free Time Freedom God Growth Happiness Hard Work Harmony Health Honesty Integrity Knowledge Leadership Learning Love Loyalty Making a difference Merit Nature Partnership Passion Peace Play Power Prosperity Resilience Security Self-awareness Self-expression Self-respect Serenity Service Sharing Sophistication Stability Success Support Teamwork Trust Wealth Winning Wisdom What should you do with this list? First, make your own list so that you have a better understanding… Once you have your values list, for the next two weeks, at the start of each day, choose a value from the list and make it your value for the day. What you’re doing, in other words, is choosing a place to stand for the day. Let that value become a part of you for 24 hours. Reference all your choices, actions, and conversations against that value. Of course, you’ll notice everything that’s not a match. What there is to do is course-correct. Let your daily value be a compass by which you guide your day. Let yourself align with your daily value. And notice, at the close of each day, what has opened up. Notice who you now are in relation to you. Notice what you’ve accomplished. Sales closed, smiles received, offers to do new business, invitations . . . And, of course, notice the feedback from your family, friends, colleagues… everybody!