It can take a long time and a keen eye to learn what someone truly values. I reflect on my own values and principles often, considering and reconsidering what is most meaningful and impactful to me about how I interact with the world. This is an incomplete glimpse of what I consider to be most important to me.
Always be honest.
Honesty is at the very core of my being, and so it will always occupy first position in any list of my principles or values. It means more than simply telling the truth. That's the easy part. Being honest means being sincere, setting aside other concerns or agendas, keeping only the words and actions which honor trust.
Being honest with others can be worrysome, as there will always be uncertainty about how honesty is received. But it's harder to be honest with ourselves.
Do right by others.
Be kind. Let empathy in. Act in the interest of those around us, even if that means sacrificing our own interests. Give others the respect and compassion we wish to receive for ourselves.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. Trust that others mean well. Know that everyone else in the world has a universe of concerns that are entirely their own, and it's a privilege to be a part of that world. Choose to be a positive part of it.
Own your mistakes.
Take responsibility. Right or wrong, helpful or harmful, our actions have an impact on others. We will mess us from time to time. We will cause harm. When we do, we need to acknowledge it, without equivocation.
We apologize. We correct the mistake, if we can. And we correct ourselves. We learn what we can, asking for help where appropriate. We carry the lesson with us. And ultimately, we move on. Mistakes belong in the past. But what we learn from them remains with us.
No person is an island. Everything we do is built on the efforts of those before us and those around us. Acknowledge the contributions that others have made and upon which our own contributions are made to succeed.
When success proves elusive, do not seek blame. Seek understanding. When on a team, pursue it together. Find answers without looking for fault. Support each other without regard for individual shortcomings. Success can come later.
Kick ego to the curb. Be mindful of how much we think we know vs how much we have yet to learn. No matter how proficient or successful we become, there is always more waiting for us beyond our comfort zone. Push your own boundaries.
Keep an open mind. Step outside yourself. Look inward. Hold onto opinions and perspectives loosely and let them be replaced when it's time for them to go.
Remain a perpetual student. Resist complacency. Grow. Ask others for help, respectfully. Look for constructive ideas and suggestions, even those which might seem disagreeable at first. Consider criticism only as long as it's helpful, then move on from it.
Find a community. Build a community. Be surrounded by folks who make us better, who challenge us in ways we might never consider by ourselves. And pay it forward.