You don’t have to sit in a corporate office or hold a political position to be a leader. We all have the opportunity to lead by example in our everyday lives. You can set the tone for those around you by being clear about your values and living them out in your everyday life. What you believe in and prioritize will show up in everything you do, from your decisions to how you spend your time outside of work.
When those around you see you standing strong in your convictions, it creates a ripple effect. Often, without realizing it, you inspire others to do the same.
Identify What Matters to You
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Cliche or not, this statement couldn’t be more true. Our values are the guiding principles that dictate our actions and shape our beliefs. They are the standards by which we judge ourselves and others. But if I asked you what your values are, could you clearly define them?
We’re not often called to evaluate our values in an intentional way, so many of us have never taken the time to really think about what we believe in. We go through life on autopilot, reacting to circumstances rather than establishing that solid foundation of values to act from. But if we want to walk the talk, we must start with a clear understanding of our values.
Some values will be universal, like honesty, respect, and compassion. Others will be more personal, like a dedication to lifelong learning or a commitment to health and wellness. There is no right or wrong answer here.
Put Your Values in Action
When we define our own values and strive to live our lives according to them, we can stay true to ourselves, no matter what the world throws at us. We discover that we have the strength to stand up for what we believe in, even when it isn’t popular, and we uncover the happiness and satisfaction that comes from living an authentic life.
But it’s not enough to quietly hold these values in our hearts. We have to put them into action.
Communicate Your Values
If you want those around you to understand your values, you have to be willing to communicate them openly. This doesn’t mean forcing your beliefs on others or judging those who don’t share your views. It simply means being clear about what you believe in and how it drives your actions.
This can be challenging, especially if you’re worried about how you’ll be perceived. We live in a world that is quick to judge and slow to listen but don’t let that deter you from speaking your truth. You never know when your words might inspire someone else to do the same.