Last month, I received my bi-annual edition of the Ball State Alumnus magazine. The cover donned an image of the honorary Dame of the British Empire, Angela Ahrendts, soon to be Apple’s new Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores. Hailing from the same small Indiana town, and graduating from the same college, she’s truly been an inspiration to me, showing that you can get anywhere in life as long as you have the right attitude and work ethic.
I had originally seen part of Ahrendts’ Alumnus feature on her LinkedIn page back in November entitled From the Heart: The Importance of Enduring Values, but her words still resonate with me. She quotes management thinker Jim Collins as saying:
“A Core Purpose is your reason for being, it captures your soul, with the primary role to guide and inspire. You cannot fulfill a Purpose, it is like a guiding star on the horizon, forever pursued but never reached.”
Ahrendts goes on to discuss core values, “the soul mate of your core purpose” as she so eloquently put it. Your beliefs, conscience and convictions that stick with you throughout your life that guide your interactions and define who you are. Making sure you are living in integrity with your self-defined values is critical in setting the tone for your personal and professional successes.
Here are a few of my own core values:
Being from small-town Indiana, one of my core values is compassion. Hoosier hospitality has taught me the art of being genuinely concerned for others by being kind, empathetic and understanding. Compassion has been my guiding light to developing the capacity to forgive others and myself, to celebrate the contributions of others, and to recognize the effects my actions will have on others.
Another core value of mine is striving to be the highest authentic expression of myself. I am always working to become a better person than the one I was yesterday. Soaking up knowledge like a sponge by researching, experimenting and reflecting on how my fundamental nature can be improved to better not only myself, but the world around me.
My last core value I will share with you is truthfulness. I am committed to being open and sincere, without distortion or embellishment. Truthfulness helps me to be humble, honest and accountable. It is my driver to building my credibility and gaining trust in my peers and clients.
“Values are not like laws – you cannot break them. You can only break yourself against them.”