Back in 1999 – a year before I’d graduated from the University of Warwick – I landed a coveted job with the world’s biggest consulting company, had a golden handshake of £10,000 and agreed a start date that gave me 18 months to get my wanderlust and travel adventures out of my system for a while.

As a proverbial Jill-of-all-trades, I thought consulting might give me the opportunity to try a variety of roles from which I’d find THE ONE that would set me down the ‘right’ career path for life.

I loved the variety, I loved many of the smart people I got to work with, and I mostly loved the work so why didn’t I stay put and work my way up to partner level?

On the surface it was a combination of the company politics, the ridiculous (in my opinion!) rules, and the nagging feeling that the work didn’t really make that much of a difference in the world, except to line the pockets of those whose pockets were already well-lined. At a deeper level, I now know that the job compromised two out of three of my core values. Every. Single. Day.

Freedom. Integrity. Excellence. These are my top core values.

With 2-hour commutes along the M4 corridor, 3+ month projects away from home, and the lack of any real control over which projects I worked on, freedom was minimal. And integrity…well, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could ignore the nagging sense that those £100m projects weren’t actually delivering the good they promised to.

And so I quit, by surprisingly (to me and everyone else!) handing in my notice on the first day back in the office after a six-month sabbatical. With no real plan in place of what I was going to do afterwards.

Why Core Values Matter In Business

Fast forward a few years and today I still work with smart, ambitious people who have big visions and want to make a difference in the world. They are therapists, writers, coaches, healers, intuitives, visionaries, and changemakers.

But their work doesn’t always make the waves they dream of; their vision doesn’t always reach its potential and the businesses they’re building sometimes still feel ‘less than’ in ways they can’t seem to articulate.

So what enables one person to create something that captures people’s imaginations and attracts loyal, raving fans, while another struggles to generate anything more than lukewarm enthusiasm and dribs and drabs of supporters?

The difference: Core values, and a values-based approach to business. Values give meaning; they communicate a deeper ‘why’, and they express a shared and common purpose to all.

A project of any kind with a defining set of core values will always resonate more strongly and deeply with its customers than a venture that has no guiding values at its core.

Why Core Values Matter To You And I

Values matter because they are the compass around which you and I determine and judge pretty much everything in our lives.

From the dictionary definition, values are: “Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.”

Your values determine everything. They determine the way you behave and respond to situations, circumstances and events; they determine how you feel about the people in your life; they determine how you feel about your life in general.

Your values determine how you assess, judge and view the world; they determine how you behave and how you communicate, and ultimately they determine who you are.

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Photo by Mauricio Artieda on Unsplash.