Being good is all about our core VALUES as a person. Every one of us has a set of core values. Our values have been built from a young age into adulthood. From day one, the people that have raised us, our parents, relatives, guardians, and friends, have been IMPRINTING values upon us. When you were young and impressionable, you were just young and impressionable.
Remember words like these: “Show respect for your sister; that type of behavior may be okay for your friends, but not you; do your chores, everybody does their role in this family.” Those words instilled the values of respect, strength, and hard work. Take a minute and reflect on words you may remember from your childhood. Now let’s fast forward from your childhood to, if appropriate, parenthood. As a parent, have you ever heard your parents voice come out of you as you talk to your kids? Most parents have, and it’s cute and scary all at the same time.
In living and leading a fearless life, values are an integral part of navigating and overcoming fear. In life, when things are good our values are beneficial and positive. However, when a crisis strikes, tragedy sets in, a roadblock is thrown up, and the value of your values skyrockets. I’ve always felt that you learn more about a person when the chips are down. During challenging times our values can be our bedrock, our light post and something that carries us through the challenge.
It is really interesting to reflect back on the first global crisis I had to lead a company through. It was September 11th and I was in the middle of a capital raise to keep our company alive. It was also on the heels of the Internet Bubble bursting. I was leading a struggling tech company in Silicon Valley that was running out of money and America just got hit by terrorists. In fact, on September 11th we had investors from New York and Chicago in our offices in California and we became their hosts for over a week as all planes were grounded.
In the face of adversity, the values that immediately struck were STRENGTH, COURAGE and FAITH. Just a day earlier the company relied on its own strength, but today the company needed mine. Everyone was shaken, and I don’t mean professionally. We were all shaken personally and as Americans we were literally numb. As a company we pulled together for our employees, served our clients, but more importantly served our community, all while we were struggling and running out of cash. We were courageous in the face of fear and had faith that if we did the right things, good things would happen to us. We made it through September 11th stronger as a company and closer as a family. And our Fearless Leadership was rewarded with a successful capital raise and the company stayed in business and grew.
The lessons I learned during that crisis I have been able to apply at other times in my career – during the financial meltdown of 2008-2009 and most recently during the global pandemic we are all experiencing. In all of these instances, I have lived and learned that simply waking up and being a good person is perhaps the biggest part of being a steady and consistent leader during troubled times.
Being a Fearless Leader is built on being a good person and living your core values. Values are great in good times, and they are literally the super-glue during the tough times.