Live by Your Values…or Bruce’s Values (Revisited)

One way to be sure that you’re living the life you want is to identify what your values are, and then to allow all of your actions and decisions to be based upon those values.

My friend Bruce, who died a few years ago, lived by five values that he shared joyfully with anyone who would listen to him.  In 2006, while he was still with us, I honored—and embarrassed—him by printing them here in my newsletter.

This week, as I sometimes do, I was wandering through the Blog ARCHIVES (near the bottom of the right sidebar on my webpage), when I came across that very article.  I recalled that although Bruce is gone, his message is worth repeating.

Bruce told people that he was constantly asking himself five questions, based on his values, every time he needed to make a decision or take some kind of action:

Am I being HONEST (with myself or someone else)?

Am I being FAIR (to myself or someone else)?


Am I giving (myself or someone else) GOOD DIRECTION?

Am I being FIRM (with myself or someone else)?

If the answer to all five of his questions was “yes”, then he knew that his decision was right and that he should take the action he’d considered.

Because the values behind these inquiries were personal, Bruce’s approach always seemed to work for him, whether he was considering an action that involved only him, or something that concerned a peer, a subordinate, or even his wife and kids.

My values happen to be very similar to Bruce’s, and like him, I always try to articulate them, remember them, and live by them in everything I plan or do.

What are your values?  What questions do you ask yourself in order to determine whether you are doing the “right” thing?

Understanding your values and allowing them to guide your life and career will help you focus on achieving your goals.  If you don’t have a clear understanding of your own values, I recommend trying out Bruce’s—or letting me help you figure yours out.

This is just another way I can remind you to keep REACHING…

It’s because of my values that I was very affected by a personal event recently that I couldn’t get past, even though many of my friends could. I couldn’t figure out why, until I reminded myself of my values. Being HONESTY, AUTHENTICITY, JUSTICE to name a few. It allowed me to be ok with my decision, and align myself with the core of who I am. It doesn’t mean I can’t forgive. It does mean I can move on. 🙂

Thanks for this article Sandy. What are your values?

Sandy Schussel says:

Thanks for the comment, Louise, and for the question about MY values. Bruce’s values all work for me, but SERVICE, OWNERSHIP and CLARITY also top my personal list.

I see HONESTY and AUTHENTICITY as overlapping, and view FAIRNESS and JUSTICE similarly. The same could be said for GIVE GOOD DIRECTION and CLARITY, I suppose, but the words need to resonate with the individual. SERVICE is big for me, as is OWNERSHIP (as distinguished from being a VICTIM). These are implicit in Bruce’s five values, but I’m about putting them out there.