Core Values Starting with Your Calling

by | Jul 31, 2015 | Self Discovey

Entrepreneurs — especially solo-entrepreneurs — often fly by the seat of their pants. They grow their business one step at a time, not giving much thought to the culture of their once one-woman business. When I saw the following article, I realized that if we took the time to figure out the core values we want our business to express, we could avoid a lot of the stress and chaos that comes with building a start-from-home business.

Does your business express your calling?
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Photo Source:; Design: Carma Spence

Core Values Starting with Your Calling

By Paul David Walker

A corporate culture simply defined is, “How we do things around here.” Therefore, it is important to define “how we do things around here.” That definition, which is commonly called “Core Values,” not only defines how we do things, but who we hire, our brand in the market, and how we evaluate and promote leaders. The “Core Values” define the overall corporate culture.

Carma’s Note: Whether you realize it or not, even a one-woman, home-based business needs to think about “how we do things around here.” If you don’t, you’ll end up suffering from project creep, overwhelm and a rapidly failing business.

Culture Eats or Drives Strategy
All companies have core values, which drive “How we do things around here” or our behaviors. The behaviors in your company come from existing and adopted values of the organization for good or bad. New companies tend to suffer from a patchwork of values brought in by new hires, and established companies have values that might have worked in the past, but are not longer on the leading edge. You cannot implement a new and evolving strategy with culture eating, or resisting, every strategic mission.

Core Values and Belonging
As you develop your core values, it is important to consider the nature of belonging. The need to belong is primal. A friend of mine recently came back from Africa. She lived with a tribe and felt a deep sense of belonging, both to the tribe and to nature, which they felt part of and dependent upon. We have lived in tribes for thousands of years. Only recently, have we developed social structures that are not tribal. Yet, much of the world still lives in closely-knit tribes. Our modern society seems to lack that deep feeling of belonging that tribes provided.

The written values you develop should point to a feeling of belonging. The words, though important, are not enough. If people feel this sense of belonging in their daily interactions they will be energized, and will extend themselves to assure the survival and success of the tribe that the company represents in their life. In a modern company belonging comes from the feeling that emanates from leadership. That feeling must comport with the words, and provide something greater than themselves.

Carma’s Note: Although creating a feeling of belonging for your eventual staff, whether virtual or in-house, is important, creating that same feeling for your potential clients is rapidly becoming paramount for expert- or one-person-based businesses. Think Lady Gaga and her “little monsters.” You want to create a tribe-like feeling for your following, as well.

Leadership’s Calling
The following defines what I mean by “our calling,” and why it is important for leaders to know themselves. Before developing the organization’s core values, it would be wise to understand “the calling” of the leadership who makes strategic decisions. A corporate culture becomes a reflection of the values that drive leadership’s behaviors. Therefore, it is important that the leaders are living examples of the Core Values. Developing corporate values should start with the Core Values, or the calling, of the leadership, so what drives the leadership is consistent with what the leaders are doing day to day.

The good news is we are all unique beings. We each have an essence or soul, which as John O’Donohue explains, is our face to the divine and humanity. As divine energy refracts through our soul, like light coming through a prism turning into the colors of a rainbow, it turns into different aspects which make up our calling. The bad news is a lot of leaders do not know who they truly are at their core. So if they develop values they think “are the right ones,” but are not a reflection of who they are, it will be difficult for leadership to authentically live the values.

The world of form, which we are part of, is based on combinations of threes. Man, Woman and Child is the basic form of creation. Health is based on a balance between mind, body and spirit. In Christianity we talk about the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, it would make sense that our soul’s purpose or essence would also be expressed in the same manner.

Carma’s Note: For women, the archetypal trinity is Maiden, Matron, Crone, representing the three phases of a woman’s life. The Maiden is our innocence and youth; the Matron is our adulthood and often the time we spend parenting the next generation; and the Crone is our time of being the wise elder. Many women in American culture resist the Crone phase, believing it makes them seem old, when really this is the time of being the one sought after for advice. Knowing where you are in this particular trinity can help you discover who you are and therefore what your core values might be.

In my experience working with leaders to discover and express their calling through their work, this is also true. There are generally three unique aspects of an individual, and they work best in balance. For example, mine are kindness, insight and inspiration. When I depend solely on my pattern recognition, or insight into the future, I often go to judgment thinking, “why can’t this person see the obvious?” When I am only focused on kindness, my vision is blinded, and I can be taken advantage of by people with self-serving motives. My inspiration not balanced with insight can lead people off cliffs.

As each leader understands and deepens their understanding of their core, an authentic set of values will emerge. When we know what three aspects of ourselves resonate together, these will be our soul’s purpose. Then we need to work deepen each and synchronize them. I have found that there is no limit to the depth of this experience; it continues to grow and bring us closer to our purpose and greatest contribution in this world. For example here is what I call my trinity:

Kindness: I know people are doing the best they know how given their life history, fears and psychology; so I use my strength to lead with my natural kindness creating a safe space for discovery.

Insight: I am curious about the true nature of things and use my intuition to explore patterns that lead to new understandings, and opportunities that empower the greater good.

Inspiration: I see the hidden genius and possibilities in people, and it is my calling to inspire them to exceed their own expectations, and let go of those they have adopted mistakenly.

I have found that when we are committed to our soul’s intention, which is expressed in a Trinity of Values or essences, life works like magic. As Goethe said,

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”

It would be wise to align the leadership first with their calling, then include the rest of the organization so that the team and company works together authentically, and in a natural harmony, to invent their future-starting with their calling as individuals and teams.

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Carma’s Note: I believe my trinity of values is Creativity, Compassion and Integrity. I’m highly creative and value my ability to express it in my work. I also encourage others to express their creativity, as well. I’m genuinely a nice person and compassionate with others. I hope that I am able to communicate that caring through my business. Walking your walk and talking your talk are important to me. I’m not saying my integrity is impeccable — I am human and have fallen on my face more than once — but I always strive to do my best in that area.

What are your trinity of values? How are they expressed in your business? Please share your insights, comments and sage advice in comment below.

About Paul David Walker

Paul David Walker
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Paul David Walker is one of the early innovators of leadership consulting and coaching at the executive level. For more than 30 years he has successfully guided the CEOs and senior executive teams of such Fortune 500 and midsized companies as New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Chase GIS, Finance One, Pacific Mutual, Rockwell International, Conexant Systems, Harrods, Anne Klein, Union Pacific, StarKist, The City of Long Beach, Culver Studios, and many other thriving organizations. He also is author of Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams, and Corporations and Invent Your Future: Starting With Your Calling.


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