We all know that people can be good looking, rich, famous and still be miserable with themselves. To the outside world, they have all the reason to be happy. However, as we have seen numerous times, fame and fortune don’t mean the person in possession of those things is fulfilled with their life.
Also, let’s turn the tables.
Someone who’s been working on their craft or business, who’s not making insane amounts of money and gets no recognition for their work doesn’t necessarily neck up from the desperation of the want of adoration of others.
What makes us feel fulfilled is being OK with our actions and how we dealt with situations and people throughout our day.
If we stray too far from our values, we feel the pain. It starts out with feeling out of sync with the universe. Think of Neo in the beginning of The Matrix. He was a disengaged cubicle rat trapped in the maze of The Matrix.
He valued personal freedom and free will above all but getting his energy sucked out of him by an unknown entity (a faceless corporation?) making him do pointless work all because he was afraid to explore what lay beyond.
He resisted change because that meant having to battle the agents of resistance (or an outside manifestation of his internal demons).
So when we look at the concept of an internal scorecard, surprisingly, it comes from one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett. Easy for him, right? He’s already got all the money in the world and can afford to have “values”.
Whereas, we, the working class, those who must maintain employment or make clients happy in order to see money coming into our business, we can’t afford such lofty ideals.
Or, is it the other way around?
If we don’t honour our own values will we ever attract the value we seek for our work?
To be honest, I have no idea.
My business makes no money at the moment. I’m merely preparing the soil and planting my seeds in my community. I’ve discovered that what I value above all is the craft (writing), my community (the Lower North Shore) and creativity (constant expansion of my mind led by my natural curiosity about people).
When I’m ready, after I’ve given birth in December, I want to work with six other people who have an internal scorecard they pay attention to, and get their stories, expertise and values out onto books and launch these books into the hands of those who will benefit from their work.
I started out with social media management but quickly abandoned that as I see it to be an ego-ic, and numbers-focused game that’s sort of like The Matrix. The algorithms change to improve the profitability of the platforms. Our job as creative professionals and business owners is to create and create value and not worry about the whims of the social media owners who want to make money by pushing us to advertise.
I believe that if you value yourself, treat your people right, be they employees, clients, suppliers, your business will thrive. It will mean having difficult conversations when you need to and communicating your values and why you do what you do, but that emotional labour is worth the loyalty you’ll get in return.
The Matter of the Internal Scorecard
After journaling and meditation (admittedly, this hasn’t become a concrete part of my morning routine yet), I look at my diary and see who I have appointments with. I focus on these people and think about our last communication and how they were feeling and what they were doing. I think about what values they expressed that we could further explore in our upcoming conversation.
It doesn’t matter if it’s something like taking the car to the local carwash. You can try this with new businesses in your community. For example, there’s a new carwash in town that I’d like to try out. I’m going to focus on the level of work I’d like to get from them and how much it should cost. After the service, I’ll take the time to have a brief chat about whether my expectations were met. I will leave an online review. My community is one of my values and as such, I feel my review is one way I can be of service to my community (and it involves writing, and I’m a writer after all!).
If I’m creating an article such as this one, I’m meeting my need to improve my craft and creativity. Creativity and a sense of community comes in handy when I look for people to share this article with.
Ideally, I should check in with myself before I go to bed, evaluating how I projected my values of the craft, community and creativity to the outside world and what I can improve.
Relationships are the Key to Fulfilment
I also seek improvement in my relationships and a greater understanding of the people around me. I could evaluate how well I think I understand these people and any questions or conversations I should have with them to clarify any negative feelings I might have towards them.
You can make assumptions about people when you send them a text message, or e-mail and they never respond. Those thoughts will have nothing to do with how they’re feeling about you.
Sometimes emails don’t go through. Messages are overlooked, etc…
How Much Money Do You Need?
Going back to Buffett, a man with great life experience and understanding of money, he’s commented that for him to feel completely happy and fulfilled, all he needs is $100,000. Being on a yacht or on holidays doesn’t make him nearly as happy as spending time in the house he bought in Omaha in 1958 where he meets with his friends and family.
The fulfilment figure depends on the individual, their geographical location, whether they have kids, want kids in private school, etc… It makes sense to sit down with a financial planner and figure out your happiness figures. A financial planner who will work with you to identify core values and help you manage and invest your money accordingly is Tristan Scifo of Purpose Advisory.
Also, if you’re a writer like me and are looking to earn your living from your craft, there are many great books out there on how to get paid for articles such as this. Leigh Shulman’s The Writer’s Roadmap is one.
One of the weaknesses of my writing practice is that I haven’t begun to look for publications that would pay me for my work. This is because I hadn’t considered myself a professional writer up until a few weeks ago. This is an area I need to work on as it will give me motivation and feedback to constantly improve my craft and give it more time and attention.
Over to you…
Have you identified your core values? If not, check out Scott Jeffrey’s guides here.
Is your current livelihood in sync with your values?
What will you do to attain greater alignment?’