Category Archives: Values

2017 Integrity Report

integrity-2

Wow! What a year 2016 was! This was a year of growth in unexpected ways, extreme stretch, tears, and eventual peace. It was the Year of Conflict professionally and personally. When I look at what I set out to achieve in my 2016 Integrity Report, I am amazed at how little I ticked off from that list. That’s not to say that I did not learn or achieve; far from it. I am just humbled by the fact that lessons sometimes do not come from the places you’d expect.

Lessons learnt from 2016

  1. Always have a road map for everything. I have made the Integrity Report a ritual that I do at the very beginning of the year to allow me to plan my coming year, and to evaluate the wins, losses and lessons of the previous year. I am also keeping a journal that I regularly update and track each goal. In addition to the Integrity Reports, I have diarized quarterly check-points in my calendar. These check points are half-day meetings with myself in which I take stock of what, according to my Integrity Report, I have accomplished, and what I need to do in the coming quarter.
  2. Always be flexible. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the things that happened in 2016 changed my course. I learnt that flexibility is key to managing your goals. By flexibility I do not mean that you change your goals every time you encounter resistance or obstacles. Rather, it is the realization that while your goals may be cast in stone, the strategy to achieve them is not. If a strategy is not working, move on to the next one.

    The way to achieve our goals is to hold them tightly and our strategies loosely.
    Megan Hyatt Miller

  3. Sleep is your best friend, just like Google. I have consciously been trying to average 7 hours of sleep daily. I cannot begin to explain to you the energy that I have and how I no longer experience the slump in the afternoon like I used to. I also have reduced my coffee intake to only one a day (just because I love the taste of coffee) and increased my intake of vegetable juices. This has significantly boosted my energy levels.
  4. Your greatest adversary can end up being your biggest champion. I am happy that the person who I felt tormented me the most in 2016 causing me sleepless nights and grief-filled days is now no longer on my case. I am not sure what changed, but I am glad it happened. I am not sure I can say we are best friends forever, but our relationship has definitely changed and the tension no longer exists.
  5. Having a close group of friends praying for you and standing in the gap for you when you are down is possibly one of the best things EVER! When I was struggling to wake up and go to work, or when I felt that I wanted to quit, these people encouraged me and prayed for me. And I made it. I survived it, and came out stronger. I also learnt a lot about myself and discovered levels of resilience I didn’t know I had in me.

2017

To be honest, this year’s Integrity Report does not differ that much from last year’s. Reason being, as I had inferred to earlier, I feel that I achieved a lot that was outside of what I had set to achieve. I would like to give this another go, and see where I am at the end of this year.

  1. What are the core values that drive my life and work?
    • Growth (devotion, trust, learning, habits, sacrifice, vision, love)
      • Am I building my relationship with God daily and trusting Him?
      • Am I living and working towards my personal vision?
      • Am I building habits that lead to continual improvement?
      • Am I sacrificing/doing what it takes for my dreams and values within the confines of all my values?
    • Servant Leadership (excellence, contribution, dependability, generosity, gratitude)
      • Am I contributing to the world or just consuming it?
      • Am I giving of my time and finances to others?
      • Am I celebrating what is right in the world?
  2. How will I living and working with integrity?
    • Devotion/Quiet time: I am faithfully going to read the Bible daily and spend some time praying and delving further into the Word.
    • Mindful eating and exercising: I am watching my portions and minimizing the junk food I eat. I am reducing the number of times I eat out. I am minimizing the amount of carbs I am consuming. I am swimming for 30 minutes thrice a week.
    • Coaching: I am spending time sharing productivity tips and other nuggets I have picked up with a group of individuals.
    • Keeping promises: I am keeping promises to myself and to others and do not commit to things that I will not see through.
  3. How can I set a higher standard?
    • Execute on my 2017 plan with more intention. This will form the blueprint of my year, rather than have ambiguous plans.
    • Continue to journal regularly to keep a track report of my progress so far. This will also help me know if my strategies are working, where I need to tweak and what I need to drop all-together.

 

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My personal values dictate my choices

Where I work, we are really big on being authentic. This is actually one of the organizational values. Authentic is defined, according to me, as being real or genuine. Being real, or authentic, means living up to your true self. Knowing my true self is a journey in which I am peeling back the different layers of me, and understanding that my journey is not a single-angled one; it is a spectrum. One of the elements of this spectrum is my values.

If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.

Tony Robbins

Personal values are important because they provide us with a road map for the kind of life we aspire to lead.  The more our choices line up with our values, the better we generally feel about ourselves. They are what you stand for in life – what you believe in and are willing to support and stand up for.

Without much ado, here are my values and their value statements:

Devotion: I spend time with God

church

He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you,

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

Because I realize God loves me despite my shortcomings, I choose to actively seek Him above all and involve Him in all I do. I am learning to communicate with Him throughout my day, just like I would do with someone who’s my close friend or family member.

Integrity/Honesty: I choose to live my every single moment of my life with integrity even if sometimes choosing integrity is the difficult part

Moral-Compass

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
Mark Twain

For me, this means being unyielding ethically. Walking the talk. Taking responsibility for my actions. There will always be forked-road moments in my life; I will simply choose the honest one, even if this comes at a cost.

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

C. S. Lewis

Excellence: Do it once, do it fast, do it right and empower others to do the same

excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle

The above is probably one of my favorite quotes. In every little thing I do, I will strive for excellence – searching for ways to improve and continuously be outstanding. It means cultivating the highest level of discipline in every facet of my life. This is not to say I am perfect – far from it – but I am achieving this through marginal gains (see this great article on the power of marginal gains and declines).

Gratitude: I count my blessings and name them one by one.

Gratitude

This hymn written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. in 1897 pretty much sums it up.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—*money cannot buy [*wealth can never buy]
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Sacrifice: I choose to do whatever it takes to achieve my dreams within the confines of my values

law_sacrifice

Merriam-Webster has one of its definitions of sacrifice as “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone”.

Sacrifice can take many forms in my life. It could be giving up that oh-so-yummy cupcake for the sake of my weight. Or it could be forfeiting that impulse buy and instead save. It could also mean giving up something I really wanted to do/buy/eat for someone else.

At the end of the day, I need to figure out what I am willing to do to attain something AND what am I willing to give up to achieve my vision?

Courtesy: It’s the little things I do that go a long way in making a difference

courtesy

Courtesy: polite behavior that shows respect for other people.

Merriam-Webster definition

In my own little way, I strive to be considerate in my actions towards other people, and undertake to do small acts of generosity. As Henry Clay said, “Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”

Growth mindset: I grow as a result of my efforts

mindset

In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck distinguishes two extremes of the mindsets people tend to have about their basic qualities:

  • In a fixed mindset, “your qualities are carved in stone.” Whatever skills, talents, and capabilities you have are predetermined and finite. Whatever you lack, you will continue to lack. This fixed mindset applies not just to your own qualities, but to the qualities of others.
  • In a growth mindset, “your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts…everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” Qualities like intelligence are a starting point, but success comes as a result of effort, learning, and persistence.

Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and non-learners.” I choose to learn something everyday, and to embrace my mistakes as learning points.

Servant Leadership: I inspire and empower others to excel in their spaces through service to them

mountain-climber-silhouette-lgr

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:25-28

A servant leader realizes, “My success comes from your success,” according to the essay The Servant as Leader” by Robert K. Greenleaf.

I strive to listen, have empathy, be aware, share, motivate, and see the bigger picture. I am learning to trust myself and others more and more. I pray that everyday I may learn how to have humility in all that I do.

My values

I have began taking stock annually of how I am living my values through the Integrity Report. I got this very useful tool from James Clear, who does his annually.

What are some of the values that you cherish? Leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Mercy