This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions.
The best exercise I know for thinking about you values comes from Stephen Covey. If you haven’t done this before, it’s worth taking his advice and taking a few minutes over this on your own, somewhere where you can concentrate. Here we go:
In your mind’s eye, see yourself going to a funeral of a loved one. Picture yourself driving to the funeral parlor or chapel, parking the car, and getting out.
As you walk inside the building you notice the flowers, the soft music. You see the faces of friends and family you pass along the way. You feel the shared sorrow of losing, the joy of having known, that radiates from the hearts of people there.
As you walk down to the front of the room and look inside the casket, you come face to face with… yourself.
This is your funeral, three years from today. All these people have come to honor you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.
As you take a seat and wait for the service to begin, you look at the program in your hand. There are four speakers. The first is from your family, immediate and also extended – children, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who have come from all over the country to attend. The second speaker is one of your friends, someone who can give a sense of what you were as a person. The third speaker is from your work or profession. And the fourth is from your church or a community organisation where you’ve been involved in service.
Now think deeply. What would you like each of these speakers to say about you? What kind of husband, wife, father, or mother would you like would you like their words to reflect? What kind of son or daughter or cousin? What kind of friend? What kind of colleague?
What character would you like them to have seen in you? What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember? Look carefully at the people around you. What difference would you like to have made in their lives?Stephen Covey – Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
If you haven’t thought much about your values before, take a few minutes to write down some thoughts about your priorities.
I’ve personally found this exercise really helpful when I first read Covey. A briefer version than Covey’s is to simply write your obituary but he captures the more relational elements here.
I wonder if something similar could be done imagining the death of your company/enterprise. What would people miss? What difference has it made to people that you existed for the time you did? How did you leave the world that bit better than when you started?
Other questions I have found helpful in uncovering what I value most include:
1. What one word best describes me?
1. What do you passionately love?
2. What breaks your heart or makes you righteously angry?
1. What do you cry about?
2. What do you sing about?
3. What do you dream about?
This is great – most of these will go in! I love “What would people miss?” Thanks John!