“There’s more to life than basketball. The most important thing is your family and taking care of each other and loving each other no matter what.” – Steph Curry
Winning in one aspect of your life while failing in another equally important area is still a failure. You are the only person that can define success in your life. And, you are the only person that can make success happen in the areas that matter to you.
There are always going to be aspects of life that are outside of our control. We have to give those things to God and focus our energy and efforts on the things we can control. The great news is our efforts control most of the outcomes in our lives. With focus and dedicated effort, there is not an area of our life we cannot improve.
Core values are the best tool we have to create a successful life. I believe core value values are so important that I made my website domain www.valuesdrivenresults.com. Results without core values are worthless.
What is a core value? Core values are the rules you play by while chasing your vision of success. Core values define the behaviors you will always do and the ones you’ll never do. The simplest and shortest business example of core values I’ve found is Southwest Airlines’. Their core values are Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart and Fun.
Simplicity is key in all things in life. Core values are no different. I tried to create a wonderfully complex set of core values for my family and I was rightfully redirected by my amazing wife. We settled on “Be Blessed and Be A Blessing.” I am amazed at how those two phrases can praise or redirect every action in our house.
There are three ways your core values will lead you to success that matters. I’ll detail each below.
Focus – We are all limited to 24 hours in a day. How we spend those hours determines our level of success. A minute wasted can never be regained. Knowing what matters most to you is the only way to not be distracted by less important things.
I love Steven Covey’s example of putting your “big rocks” first. Core values help us define what our big rocks are so we can take care of those first. Allowing my faith, family, or health to fail while succeeding at business is still a failure.
I like taking clients through a “wheel of life” exercise where the spokes of the wheel are your core values – the things that matter most in your life. The center of the wheel is “0” and the outside ring is “10”. Scoring yourself on the areas that matter most allows you to make re-allocations of your time to areas where your wheel is looking flat. Round wheels roll the best and you will find that your performance in all areas improves when no area falls too far behind. You can find that exercise and an excel model to help you with it in our subscriber resource library at https://valuesdrivenresults.com/resource-library/. Click on the “Get 5 Hours Back” resource and you’ll find what you need.
Attempting to succeed in 15 different areas in life will result in failure. Decide what matters most and put your focus, time and energy in those areas. I love this quote from martial arts master Bruce Lee,
“It is not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
Character – Your core values define who you want to be and who you don’t want to be. They define what you will and won’t do to succeed. Our character has a greater impact on our success than our intelligence.
A character fail is incredibly hard to recover from. In contrast, less than spectacular performances over time executed with character will eventually lead you to success. This happens because you get to build on top of your last performance. If you have a character fail, you start at zero and must rebuild everything.
That is why ethics and integrity are so important in our professions and our lives. There is nothing more expensive (in dollars and relationships) than a character fail. There are a lot of grey areas in life and the world seems to be drawing us closer and closer to the edge. We must build what looks like way too much margin from the edge to ensure our safety.
Northpoint Community Church has a policy that two unmarried people of the opposite sex will not travel for work in the same car. On the surface, that policy seems ridiculous and plenty of people think it is. But when you consider the cost of a character fail to that organization and its mission, isn’t that margin of safety worth the cost?
Avoid Starting Over – Like compound interest in investing, our future wins are built upon our past actions. Those actions could have resulted in smaller successes or what I like to refer to as “learning opportunities” but our future successes are built upon them.
Revisiting our core values helps us keep up our performances in the areas that matter most to us before an area gets beyond the point of repair. A heart attack, divorce, or character fail would all be massive hindrances to building a successful life. Keeping our eyes on the results in the most important aspects of our lives helps us avoid a big fail that would cost us years of progress.
When a reporter asked Steph Curry how his dad had been so successful at raising his kids while building his professional basketball career, he responded that his dad’s life was focused on two things – basketball and family. I’ve seen that in my life. We always tease my dad about his lack of hobbies. His life was always about work and family. He has always had very few distractions in life. His focus has allowed him to create success in what matters most to him.
Here is your homework this week. Define what your successful life looks like. What categories must you excel at? Remember the fewer categories you have, the more successful you will be.
How is your performance in each of those areas? What can you cut out of your life to put more time and energy on performing great at what matters most?
If you’d like some great resources to help you on your journey you can find them on our resources page at www.valuesdrivenresults.com or call me at 229.244.1559.
Curt Fowler is President of Fowler & Company and Director at Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey. He is dedicated to helping leaders build great organizations and better lives for themselves and the people they lead.
Curt is a syndicated business writer, keynote speaker and business advisor. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.