I am an introvert without a great social filter. I do not like what I hate. But years of doing business means I’ve learnt to hide what I really think out of respect and political correctness. However, my personal values have defined the work I do and the people I love.
I spent almost 20 years in the corporate world before starting my company, and as you can imagine, I got into trouble for being authentic.
One day, my boss and I were in a meeting with a prominent Nigerian bank CEO. I disliked this person within 5 minutes of meeting him. His condescending tone and focus on money were off-putting, and I remember thinking, “Do we really need this money?” and “Why did I leave my house for this?”
After the meeting, my supervisor calmly told me that I could never let what I was thinking show on my face, as my lack of political savvy would limit my future prospects. Thankfully, I am a big girl who serves a big God, and I have not needed to change much.
Do Values Limit Your Options?
Recently, I’ve been thinking about how my core values have limited my options in life. Not in a bad way, mind you. Instead, having a set of benchmarks created a filter that narrowed down my options. Frustration came when I tried to build long term relationships or do deals with people who didn’t share my basic principles. We just kept fighting.
Although the world is big enough for everyone, your personal space should only accommodate a few. Over time, personalities may change and experiences will evolve but once you decide on the type of person you want to be, your True North remains constant.
Values are Universal
Values cut across time, space and culture. For example, there are different interpretations of what hard working means in several countries. But people know it when they see it. It evokes a picture of doing things that aren’t easy or putting in much effort. However, we may express it in our unique native languages.
Your values keep coming up every day. And sometimes the manifestation will be quirky to behold.
Values in Action
I love courage and sacrifice. One day, my nieces and I went to the cinema to watch Frozen. Remember the part where Anna rushed to save Elsa from Hans’ sword? That was my undoing. I just started weeping. Now try to imagine a grown woman weeping in a cinema full of children while watching a cartoon! Nowadays, when I go to the movies, I warn my friends in advance that I will probably cry and that they should allow me to do so in peace.
I hate injustice and this explains why my work champions middle-class prosperity. Those that are honest & hardworking should be rewarded by life.
I find duplicity to be exhausting, and so I could never be a professional actor, even temporarily. It’s also why I can’t grasp people who lead double lives, date multiple people or have multiple families. Online dating is exhausting – talking to multiple people concurrently.
I am deeply resistant to complexity and suffering. Thus, there are some types of money I can never make – the ones characterized by excessive hustling and pain. I know the money is there. I know how to access it, but I choose not. I’m keenly aware my response smells of privilege because I have options.
The moral of this story is, know who you are and own it. Define your True North and stop chasing every opportunity or connection. Some will not fit you and that’s okay.
Thank you for reading.
For more, please read What are you looking for
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