There’s a lot written in blogs and in books about Values – both corporate and personal.
Zappos, for example, created its 10 core values as the foundation for the entire company – their culture, their self-image, the benchmark against which each employee is measured. Values become the collective morale compass for a business. But its important that they are not owned nor defined by the marketing department.. the goal here should be to define how you and everyone behaves. They are, after all, what you “value”.
The same is true for you personally. What do you believe? What do you represent? Like I mentioned in my “You are what you do” post, you are not what you “say you are” – you are the sum of your actions.. but also of your beliefs.
Guilt is one of the most powerful emotional responses and occurs when you violate your personal values. Set the bar low, and you won’t feel guilty. But you won’t get far in life and you will undoubtedly run into trouble down the road if you do. Creating a set of values in which you truly believe and are bound to live up to is what forms your character. And character is the essence of who you are – the morale compass.
I recently came across The Farmer’s Creed. It was first published in 1915 and was traced back to a farmer named Frank Mann. These days – character, values and purpose seem to be more about your Facebook or Twitter profile and less about what you stand for and so I thought it is pretty powerful, perhaps even more so now.
THE FARMER’S CREED
I believe a man’s greatest possession is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.
I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person’s character.
I believe that farmers, despite its hardships and disappointments is the most honest and honorable way a man can spend his days on earth.
I believe my children are learning values that will last a lifetime and can be earned no other way.
I believe farming provides education for life and that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth and maturity in such a variety of ways.
I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free: the splendor of a sunrise, the rapture of wide open spaces, and the exhilarating sight of your land greening each spring.
I believe true happiness comes in watching your crops ripen in the filed, your children grow tall in the sun, and your whole family feel the pride that springs from their shared experience.
I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it, an honor that does not come to all men.
I believe my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellow man, and by this standard I fear no judgment.
I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days, he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he’s lived.
I believe in farming because it makes all this possible.
You may not be a farmer, I’m not either — but I appreciate the resonance of pride in your work, a long-term view-point, hard work, giving back to society, and above all else – character. Perhaps we all need to our own creed – bankers, marketers, salesman, entrepreneurs, engineers, and so on. To be able to “stand tall and feel pride in the life” you’ve lived – who wouldn’t want that?