Core Values as Our Guide
I was driving down the Rocky Mountains with my then 6 year old son, Teddy. I noticed the guide rails along the winding roads. We had just spent 15 minutes at the Continental Divide, it was an impressive view. Before that, we were camping on the Colorado River and we were both exhausted. As I drove our rental car down the mountain, I looked in the back to see Teddy fast asleep. My attention turned to the road and I chuckled to myself wondering what in the world would the guide rails do if I were to weave off the road. I mean it certainly wouldn’t save me from plummeting down the mountain, would it? Or would it serve as a reminder to get my car back on the road?
Our core values act in a similar fashion, be it at work or home. I mean if I don’t have a reminder to get back on the path, then how would I even know that I was off of it? As a kid, I always hated when my parents would say “because I said so.” I didn’t know then, but the part of that statement I hated was that it never addressed the why. Why should I eat my vegetables? Because I said so. Why couldn’t it be because we want to eat a healthy diet and take care of our bodies so we can live long and healthy lives? Which one resonates more with you? I think the core values tie the behavior back to an already decided upon path. Knowing why you are doing something holds more weight than an unguided path or no reason why.
At both my home and work we have stated core values. I think the important reason we have them stated is much like those guard rails in the Rocky Mountains, they are visible. The core values are out there for everyone to see, not just certain drivers/workers/family members, everyone. We can look at them and understand why they are there and then use them. When we make decisions at home or work we want to use our core values as the filter in our decision making. We want to coach and teach the why and tie it back to the core value. That seems like a better and safer way to drive through the mountains, or life.