As 2018 will be with us in a few days, you might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. If, like many people, you have experienced disappointment in previous years when failing to do more exercise, drink less alcohol or lose weight etc. why not try something different? Consider a New Year’s resolution for 2018 “to live my life in line with my personal values”. What will you and others say about your Chapter 2018?
A thirteen-hour flight at the beginning of the month provided a greatopportunity to reflect on my personal Chapter 2017 (which closes in just 18 days’ time) and also to look forward to Chapter 2018. For some reason, three specific events came to mind which are completely separate but also have a strong connection. One took place in Singapore, the second in Wrexham, Wales and the final one was in Miami, USA.
The flight was returning to London from Singapore where we had some great 31Practices working sessions with the YOTEL Singapore Crew. The groups considered what was different about the “YOTEL Chapter 2017” they were writing compared to any other document they have created or will create. The answer is that unlike any other document we create, when 31 December arrives and passes our Chapter 2017 will be cast in stone …. forever. It cannot be edited.
When thinking ahead to our Chapter 2018, this thought surely gives us great encouragement to look to next year with ambition and purpose. What do we want our colleagues, customers, friends, family and other “stakeholders” to remember us for in 2018? We have one year, or fifty-two weeks, or three hundred and sixty-five days to write our very best story. We hold the pen.
The beginning of a new year is also a time symbolising the chance to start afresh and not be tied by what has gone before. This philosophy came across loud and clear in September in a conversation at HMP Berwyn (one of Europe’s largest prisons) with one of the men who told me about his future plans. He was about 55-60 years old and explained that he had been in and out of institutions since he was 17 years old, the longest time “out” between serving sentences being eighteen months. In other words, just about a whole lifetime in prisons. In the past year, he had lost his last remaining family members which made him consider his own mortality and resulted in a real light bulb moment. He viewed his life to this point as “a waste” but also believed that there was still time to change this. He had decided to become a counsellor for young offenders so that he could turn his personal life experience into a benefit for other people to have a positive impact on their lives.
If you are starting to think about New Year’s resolutions and, like many people, have experienced disappointment in previous years when failing to do more exercise, drink less alcohol or lose weight etc. why not try something different? Making a commitment to live in line with what is important to you (your personal values) is worth considering. Why? Because our personal and work lives are not mutually exclusive, instead they are inextricably connected, moreso in today’s super connected world than ever before. It may not be news to you that employees feel more fulfilled and motivated in their work when their personal values are aligned with their organisation’s values. Research by Kouzes and Posner also states that helping employees understand their personal (as opposed to organisational) values can result in an increase in discretionary effort of up to 17%. Living our lives in line with our values brings a greater sense of fulfilment and happiness.
“Values influence every aspect of our lives: our moral judgments, our responses to others, our commitments to personal and organizational goals. Values set the parameters for the hundreds of decisions we make every day.”
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge
One of my highlights this year was attending the first World Happiness Summit in Miami to give a talk about how the my31Practices approach can help people to bring their values to life every day. It was the largest audience (more than 700) I have ever talked to but it did not feel overwhelming. Everybody was there because they had an interest in the topic/science of happiness and there was such positive energy in the room. This gave me the courage to ask for the Black Eyed Peas track “Where is the love?” to go on stage to (because it features the lyric “Can you practice what you preach?”). I have been invited to talk about the same topic at a Women in Banking & Finance event in January and it is a perfect time of the year to create a foundation for Chapter 2018 – there will be three hundred and fifty-one days still to write.
New Year’s resolution for 2018 “to live my life in line with my personal values”. What will you and others say about your Chapter 2018?
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