At a British Columbia leadership conference at which I recently spoke, former United Nations Ambassador Alan Keyes gave a brilliant speech and challenged the audience with this idea: the only way people, businesses, organizations, and even countries make a lasting impact is by operating from core values and bedrock principles.
This got me to thinking about how successful people live from core values. By doing so, they provide for themselves the foundation for successful lives that make a difference, not only for themselves, but for others as well.
What are the core values that I have seen in the many successful people that I have worked with through the years? Here are four core values that virtually guarantee your success:
1. They are honest.
The successful people with whom I’ve worked are not dishonest. Neither are they corner-cutters or “little-white-lie-tellers.” In fact, I have found that the truly successful are entirely honest. They have no problems with the truth. They stand on it and declare it.
Being an honest person takes being at ease with and being confident in yourself. It requires a trust that, no matter what the truth may bring, things will turn out for the best. When you are confident of yourself and know that the best will turn out, you have no problem telling the truth at all times.
This brings you to a place where people know the real you. It allows them to follow you with assurance. It strengthens relationships, upon which your success rests. It allows you to look yourself in the mirror and see the same person in the mirror that is standing before it. This builds on itself and enables you to be even more confident and move even more quickly toward your successful future.
Make a commitment to be honest, and you make a commitment to your own success.
2. They are givers, not takers.
The successful people I have worked with have achieved extraordinarily. This includes great families, world records, spiritual abundance and material wealth. But they didn’t set out to go and get it at all costs. Instead, they set their minds upon serving others the best they could. They realized one of the most universal principles in the world: you reap what you sow. They know that, when they give to others, others give back. The reverse is true as well. When you take from others, they try to keep what you are trying to take.
Make a commitment to be a giver and not a taker, and you make a commitment to your own success.
3. They are bust-their-tails, hard workers.
Very few people become successful without hard work. Granted, in our “play the lotto” culture, we desire success without work, but history shows that the people who achieve the most success have as a core value the desire to work hard.
One point: They don’t just work hard in order to get the return, though they do indeed do that. They also work hard because they believe in hard work as an ethic and value. They know and appreciate that hard work produces character in them, excellence in their product, and satisfaction for those who benefit from their work. So they operate out of the value of hard work.
Make a commitment to hard work, and you make a commitment to your own success.
4. They do what is right.
Successful people are people with a core, people with a rod of strength and integrity that runs right through them. It causes them to see that this world needs people who will do what is right, play by the rules, fight for what is true and take time to care for the little guy and the underdog. Yes, good guys do finish first after all. And when, on those few occasions they don’t, they decide they would still do it the same way all over again. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. Believe it or not, even with all of the scandalous behavior that we read about in the newspapers every day, good people are still the backbone of society. They are what make it work and make it benefit everyone.
Make a commitment to do what is right, and you make a commitment to your own success.
Sure, there are lots of values that we should strive to hold on to, but start with these four and you will be well on your way to achieving the kind of life you desire!