I believe busy professionals should have a personal compass to follow. It does not need to be something as grand as a manifesto, though I do think you should spend time creating one for yourself because it is important to document what you believe in and stand for in your life.
Your code might be more in line with the Seven Knightly Virtues, or Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues. It does not have to be weighty or preachy. Perhaps a maxim you remind yourself of daily. As a Stoic, the refrain; See clearly. Do what you can. Endure what you must. works for me as a start, but there’s got to be a little bit more.
Your personal code of conduct should mix some of the givens of life, which are your core non-negotiable rules, with things that are perhaps aspirational to you and represent your ideal.
Being imperfect, you know there will be days when you don’t quite measure up to your potential. This doesn’t make you despondent, because you know tomorrow is another day and another chance to improve yourself.
If you don’t put thought into your personal code of conduct, you become susceptible to others. I prefer to use my free-will when making decisions in my life. If I come across a business whose belief system is not congruent with my own, I know to step away early enough before any conflicts arise. That is why you should always be careful whom you choose to work for because you will likely adopt their norms and beliefs. It is rare for it to work the other way around.
By way of example and accountability, seven principles which are part of my philosophy follow.
- It’s better to be good. I don’t mean pious; I mean knowing ethical behavior and common sense manners. Knowing your values and acting in accordance with them.
- Cause and effect always work. In every event, whether we choose to believe it or not, everything happens for a reason; and the reason is a reaction to what has already occurred.
- Give more. Give more of your time, your energy your thoughts, your ideas, your talents, yourself — more of everything imaginable.
- Anything is possible. Everything that exists today that was created by humans was once a foolish idea that most people thought would never work. The truth is, everything is possible. Every problem is solvable, every epidemic is curable, and every thirst quenchable. We have the power and the ability to abolish poverty, to end starvation, to resolve conflict without bloodshed. With patience, perseverance and focused thinking we can accomplish any goal. It may not be easy, but it can be done.
- Exercise the body and mind. The body must guard our mind, and our mind must inspire our body. While in this form they rely on each other.
- Being happy is better than being sad. Both are emotions, and emotions are not right or wrong. They are the by-products of an action. Therefore, it is better to do things that make you feel positive and upbeat. Always smile, laugh and inquire like a child.
- Know what you want. It is simply that easy. Just knowing what it is you want to accomplish sends you way ahead of the indecisive pack.
Create a code that is personal and relevant to you and use it as a measuring stick to mark your personal growth. Need help crafting one? Karl Bimshas Consulting can help.