Achieve success by modeling yourself after professionals with integrity
While many intuitively understand the meaning of core values, a solid definition is vital to this discussion. By their very definitions, “core” means that it’s at the center, while “values” is defined as our beliefs. Core values are the beliefs that are at the center of who we are and define us both as individuals and professionals. They are the critical, intangible essentials that bring continuity and meaning to life. The anchors that support all we do and define who we are. Both people and organizations have values and they need to be shared values. When individual and organizational values conflict, you can expect a crippling impact to one or both.
In today’s digital economy, we live in an era of relative values, where right is determined by what advances my interests. That is completely in contrast to the core values we aspire to and what my parents instilled in me. Core values are your bedrock, despite whether it’s good times or turbulent times, core values are your guidepost, your beacon, the means by which you always know what to do because you are guided by that unchangeable, unwaverable set of core values. That’s why they’re important. To help you navigate turbulent times whether on a personal or organizational level.
But values don’t just appear, and we don’t assimilate them overnight. They develop and evolve over the course of a lifetime. You may see them on the wall of a building or read them in the pages of a book, but it takes time for them to move from the wall or the page to your heart. And that happens in large part through mentoring.
When you think of your life’s work, be sure that your personal values are compatible with the organization’s values and that the organization’s published values match their actual values. It’s then that you have a healthy relationship, one in which you can grow and prosper over a lifetime or over even a career.
Everyone needs a mentor
A mentor is an individual who advises and challenges you to do your best on both a personal and professional level. Everyone needs a mentor. Yes, everyone. As a child, your parents, grandparents or someone close filled that role. When you entered higher education, your classmates, professors and perhaps an alumni or two filled that role. When you graduate and move into your life’s work, someone within the organization will likely fill that role. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, and they come from all walks of life. The quality of mentors differs, so it’s important to choose your mentors wisely.
The strong leader, the one surrounded by smart people, believes you not only hire smart people, but also you build smart people and then unleash their capabilities. You do this because you believe in your heart and know that when the team succeeds, there’s enough credit to go around for everybody. That’s a sense of selflessness.
That sense of selflessness when acting as a mentor stems from knowing that you can’t look for the big payback, the “what’s in it for me.” Because the highest compliment that can ever be paid to you as a mentor will never occur in your presence. That moment occurs when the next generation’s leader, the one you worked with, faces his or her own crisis and seeks wisdom in the silent chambers of the soul and asks, “how would my mentor have handled this?”
Mentoring isn’t about the “old boys” club. It’s about helping people grow and think for themselves. It’s an opportunity to connect with the past and contribute to the future. It’s about seeking out all of tomorrow’s bright, young leaders and helping them navigate the path that lies ahead.
During this time, find wise mentors to learn and grow from, while at the same time developing your own mentoring abilities.
Take a step back and decide which values you require in your life. Then observe the path that your potential mentor has taken to achieve success. Being able to rely on individuals who will share their experience with you is invaluable for you to establish a strong foundation upon which to build.