When I was asked to pick 3 core personal values that I live by everyday, I picked Passion, Persistence and Positive Attitude. It was definitely not an easy exercise because there are many values which I believe are important for us to progress and be happy in life. Eventually, I looked at the way I approach life and work and the values that I believed have been important in the way I live and work, had led me to determining these 3 core values. I did not recognize these values before, but this goes to show that values do exist. Life can be much easier when we acknowledge our values and when we make plans and decisions that honor them.
Last week I bought a book by Angela Duckworth called 'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance' after watching her TED Talk video. I have just finished reading it and highly recommend it to anyone who is seeking passion to reach their top-level goals and the perseverance to follow through, because this is what grit is all about.
Many people would ask questions like; what is passion and how do we find it? How do we know if this is really our passion? I had the exact same questions before and to come to the answer is really to find out what you are most interested in and if it makes you happy when you are doing it or when you get the results that you are after. However, in order to know this, you have to take the time to develop this interest to make it a passion. So passion does not just drop from the sky, says the Grit expert and I totally agree with it. This is also the reason why some parents, including myself, are exposing our kids to different activities at an early age and allow them to play to find out for themselves the things that interest them. Any first encounter could or might lead to a life long passion. Passion is probably the most fun and confusing stage because it is also the discovery stage that is followed by a lot of development.
What happens after you have found your passion? The reason I picked persistence as one of my core values is because I absolutely do not give up to pursue my goals. This is probably the hardest part because this is the part with constant discipline, deliberate practice, improvement, facing fears, motivation, and establishing a daily ritual that becomes your habit.
Persistence also makes us an expert in something and this is the reason why we should only claim to be an expert once we have put in the hours and have persevere through all the roadblocks that came our way. It is the follow through that counts and if we got stuck or emotionally down in the process, it is the act of getting back up or the will to get help or coaching to get us out of the situation and right back on track. Very often it is the execution of a brilliant idea and the perseverance to materialize it that determines success or failure. This is where strategic planning and all the small steps with specific timeline to get to the finish line is important.
I had a recent encounter with a friend of mine who is a social entrepreneur and she is having trouble to make decent sales for the products that she has created out of passion to support her beneficiaries. She admitted that she is not good in sales and is thinking of letting go after 3 years of hard work. However, because of her passion to protect the environment and the world, she is determine to see businesses and individuals transition from using toxic cleaning products to natural cleaning products. She has asked for help and I am glad to help in any way I can because I absolutely believe in her cause.
Positive attitude is mainly about positive mental attitude, asking how something can be done rather than saying it can't be done. It is the state of mind that continues to seek, find, execute ways to win or find a desirable outcome, regardless of the circumstances. It is also the optimism and hope that is vital to the development of a positive mental attitude. I am a strong believer that everyone should approach everything that they do with a positive attitude. Circumstances can be frustrating and demotivating, but the consistent questioning of how something can be done should never escape us.
Positive self-talk and our daily language with ourselves frames our reactions to life and circumstances. Too often, the pattern of self-talk that we have developed is negative, often from our past experiences growing up. We should be aware of this and as soon as we use negative words to describe a mistake or a negative event, we should replace our language with positive self-talk to bring the positive out of the negative to help us do better, go further or just keep moving forward. This requires that we are constantly aware of what we say to ourselves, the constant internal dialogue that we have with ourselves.
I would like to end here by welcoming all of you who has taken the time to read this article, to take a moment and think of 3 core values that help govern how you live your life and work. What really matters to you? It is a challenging discovery process but it is worth the effort.
When you have finally determined your 3 core values, be committed to them and watch how they change your behaviors and your decision making process. Give yourself 3 weeks time to check how well you are living them. I would love to hear from you after this 3-week exercise. Just email me directly or write down your experience in the comments.