My friend Christian runs a blog called The Maverick CEO. A couple of weeks ago he did a podcast that I really loved with a girl named Debra Trappen. When I clicked through to her website I ended up finding something REALLY cool that I have found very useful to me when making decisions in business and in life. If you go to the D11 Consulting website you’ll see the option to enter your email and get a “Define Your Core Values” worksheet.
The idea is that if everything you do is aligned with your “core values” then you will be a much happier person. It makes absolutely no sense to spend time on anything that you don’t really believe in or are not passionate about. You only live once, and there is no reason to be doing things that you don’t want to be doing or things that don’t help you get to where you want to be.
So the worksheet is basically a giant checklist with a bunch of words on it. You check off the things that you care about or the things that are important to you. Once you’ve checked off all of the things you care about, you start to narrow down to just 10 words. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you have your 10 core values.
I need to insert a caveat here. I think I may have used the worksheet a little bit different than it was intended. I immediately eliminated words like “family” and “spirituality.” Those words, for me, are a given. Every decision I make is really to better not only myself, but my family. So I focused on building a list of key words that I could use as a filter for making decisions in my life going forward because I was/am struggling with doing way too many things and saying “yes” to everything that anyone asks me.
Anyway, I came up with my list, and I would like to share it with you. Once I figured it out I felt so much more confident in what I was doing. I made an image for my phone’s screen saver and every time I look at my phone I see these words. Every time I find myself having to make a decision I refer to this list. If the decision I have to make does not help or enhance any of these areas of my life in any way then I say no. Check this out:
These are not in any kind of order of importance or anything like that. They are just words that I can use as filters when making decisions. Here’s the run down:
Am I passionate about what’s being asked of me? If not then it’s an immediate no. If you need to get your idea, product or business online I am game. If you have a fitness goal that you really want to make happen I can help you. If you want to run your first marathon or want to figure out how to sell your product online to your customers, I am all about it! If you need someone to take out your garbage or teach you how to use Microsoft Outlook I’m not your guy. I’ll say no unless you just REALLY want to pay me a lot of money to take out your garbage. 🙂
Is it cool? This is a tough one, but I can honestly say that every project I’m working on and every client that I have right now is cool. I am not embarrassed by anything that I’m doing right now at all. I’m not doing anything that I don’t enjoy just to make money. Again, this is a tough one. I’m gonna have to work hard on this one because if you offer me the right amount of money I might cave!
Does this thing that is being asked of me allow me to be creative? Am I challenged to come up with a solution or am I given freedom to try different things? I am a somewhat creative person. I’m not a great designer or artist, but I do have a musical background and I do love creating new things and expressing myself. If what you are asking me to do is something new and creative or gives me a chance to think outside of the box or outside of outside of the box then I’ll say yes.
Is what I’m doing better than everything else in it’s category? Is it excellent? If not, ditch it. Say no. I don’t want to do anything that isn’t awesome.
Am I excited about this thing that I am doing? If not, stop it. Say no. I don’t want to do anything that I’m not excited about. It doesn’t help me or the person that asked me to do it.
Ok, this can be a tough one for some people to get their brain around. If you run a business or you are trying to help people in some way then you are a celebrity whether you like it or not. People watch you and watch the decisions you make and if you are doing what they want to do then they are going to copy you. That’s awesome, but it can be hard. You have to make sure that you are doing everything you can to represent yourself as the celebrity that you are. Get yourself in newspaper articles, podcasts, blog posts, etc. However, remember in your everyday life that you represent your brand. People see what you do and associate that with everything that you endorse and promote. This might be the hardest one of all. Promote yourself and walk the walk. Don’t just talk the talk. Does what you are being asked to do help you promote your celebrity? If not, maybe you should think twice.
Simple. Is this thing unique? Is everyone else doing it? Is nobody else doing it? If not, do it. Is you know a ton of people doing it then refer to the other filters. 🙂
Do you/I care about the thing that we are being asked to do? Do I have a skill that can help someone in need? Do I see a situation where something that I can do can drastically improve someone else’s situation? If we see a situation like this that we can help out in, then I believe that it is our duty as humans to help out. If this is the case, then it’s a no brainer. I’m here for anyone that really needs me or my services in that way.
Not going to say much about this one as it’s obvious. I love fitness and feel like taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for you and your loved ones.
Can I share something that I know with someone that doesn’t know? This is huge! If I have some skill or something that someone else needs to know for their own personal development I am sharing it with them. Can I contribute to some open source project or can I help someone reach their own goals by sharing some knowledge with them? I’m going to share it. No matter what. We should all want to help each other become better human beings, better husbands, better dads, better business people, better coaches, and on and on and on. If you have something you can share with others to make them better people then you better do it.
There you have it. My 10 filters that I’m going to use to make all of my decisions. Remember though that family comes first. Loved ones come first. Spirituality comes first. If at any time these ten things butt heads with Family, loved ones or your own spirituality then those that are close to you come first. Don’t compromise on that.
Some projects may not help all of these things, but I am asking myself every time I’m asked to do something whether or not it enhances or helps one of these areas. If not, I’m going to say no.