This article was originally published in Wisdom Well, a daily newsletter from Chip Conley, founder of The Modern Elder Academy. Written by Next For Me CEO, Jeff Tidwell and Editor in Chief, Carole McManus.
Midway into our second year at our company Next For Me, some of our advisors and readers questioned the tone of our corporate story and consumer message. It was filled with what they considered too much negative messaging rife with doomsday predictions for 50+ audiences.
The feedback was our community didn’t need to hear a retelling of such dark predictions week after week. What they/we needed is something to hope for.
We listened (we had become doomsday weary too) and conducted quick experiments to test the theory. We started publishing articles that were aspirational stories of facing down adversity and finding a way through it. Those articles immediately got considerably better traction and engagement than the darker pieces.
The results also underscored that “mindset” had as much as anything to do with a positive outcome. It suggested that having an open mind was a personality trait that would become increasingly important if our audiences were to make progress in their personal development and evolution. We wrote about that too, and the positive reaction to those pieces told us we were honing in on the story that our readers were looking for.
So, not only did an open mind and a willingness to transition benefit the community we were building, it became the “way of being” for us and our company. If we were going to be a catalyst for transformation, we, too, had to be people open to transition.
We wrote about what we found, first in a Forbes column Confessions of a 50+ Entrepreneur, and then in our book A Guide To Change For Everybody.
We maintain that If you’ve decided to go forward with an idea that will lead to a new definition of who you are, having a solid philosophical foundation as a guide will make the way forward a lot easier. Whenever you need a gut check on a life decision you can always weigh it against your vision, core values, and a set of guiding principles.
In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen defines a system for evaluating work using an altitude analogy. At the top, the 50,000+ foot view. He explains:
“This is the ‘big picture’ view. Why does your company exist? Why do you exist? The primary purpose for anything provides the core definition of what its ‘work’ really is. It is the ultimate job description. All the goals, visions, objectives, projects, and actions derive from this, and lead toward it.”
Enlightened people going through change ask, “what is my reason for being?” Core values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that give a framework when defining the purpose of your new thing. They’re your North Star as you move forward, and help inform whether the paths you take are the right ones.
To get a sense of what your core values are, you can ask yourself …
- What’s more important to me, results or relationships?
- How does my work reflect who I am? Or does it?
- What impact does my work have on the world around me?
- What is something that makes me feel proud about my work?
- What does work-life balance look like for me?
- What do I want my legacy to be?
Once your core values have been identified, you can expand upon them to apply your values in a practical sense. It’s a handy tool for quick consideration when defining what’s next for you.
Carole McManus and Jeff Tidwell are co-founders of Next For Me and co-authors of A Guide To Change For Everybody.