What do you stand for?
As the saying goes, if you don’t stand for anything, then you’ll fall for everything.
It’s 5:30 AM as I write this down… everyone in the house is asleep.
I’m not in my home; I’m in someone else’s.
For the next several days, I’ll be staying at an estate in the lakes region of New Hampshire where I’ll be co-leading a conference for business leaders who have traveled from all over the world to be here.
When my fellow coaches arrived, we were excited to see each other. We shared laughs, told stories, and cracked a few beers. The energy was amazing, and the temptation to stay up, have some more drinks and laughs was certainly in the air.
Like a wave washing over me, I got up from my comfortable chair and started prepping for my morning routine. I prepped for bed. It was 9 PM.
I knew that others might judge me for turning in early when the night had just begun, but I also knew what I stood for – and I needed to be fully ready and present in the morning. It was a commitment I had made… to myself.
It wasn’t long ago that I would have stayed up, had a few more drinks with rest of the crew, slept in, and felt like crap the next day until the third cup of coffee kicked in and I would start to feel normal again.
That was then…
… this is now.
Today I stand for something greater than myself. I have a set of values that I allow to guide my choices in my life. I have a family to protect and honor.
This is no longer just about me, though in serving myself to the highest level, it somehow works out for the everyone’s best interest.
These values are written down, and the more I revisit them, the more I live them.
I’m far from perfect – I need to do the reps, but the more I do them, the easier the “work” becomes. It’s reflexive rather than retrospective.
Here are 3 things you can do today to make sure you’re standing for what’s best for you and not “falling for everything.”
- Write Them Down. Grab your journal, or a notebook, and go to a place where you won’t be bothered. Write down what you stand for in this format: I stand for…
Keep writing until you can’t think of anything more. I also encourage you to write what you stand for (in the positive) rather than what you stand against. So, instead of saying, I stand against racism, you can write, I stand for treating each person with love and integrity regardless of race, religion, or gender.
- Boil Them Down. Take your list and chunk like items together. Can you boil those statements down into 1-3 key statements? We’re aiming for a list of roughly 10 things, or less, that you stand firmly for. We’re sorting out your values. I find that 10 items are easy to remember and recite.
- Do Your Reps. Read your list each day. I recommend reading the list at least 3 times each day: first thing in the morning, in the afternoon (I like after lunch), and right before bed. I use to post mine in my bathroom near the mirror – made it hard to miss since I brush my teeth at least twice a day.
The cool part of the story from last night that I didn’t share was that instead of judging me for going to be early, the coaches wished me a good night and they themselves chose to turn in early as well.
Like attracts like. When you know what you stand for, there’s a better chance of drawing like people into your life. If you look around today at the people in your life and you don’t like what you see, then perhaps it’s time to make a change yourself.