Your Values in Action – A Personal Ethos

A friend recently told me that one of the things she values the most, and enjoys making part of her life, is HARD WORK.  That’s awesome, I thought, and I agreed that it was one of mine as well.  Indeed we’ve made it one of the core values of the CFKI community, along with growth, service, and fun.  But why, then, do I feel like I have some of those days when I don’t feel like working hard?  Listing my core values and reviewing them as part of my morning practice is helpful, but in order to make my values come alive I decided to revisit an exercise I had done as part of my introduction back in the day to SEALFIT/Unbeatable Mind training – creating a personal ethos.

If values are single words or phrases that represent characteristics that you feel are most important in your life, an ethos is a longer description that includes those values in a way that paints a picture of how you want to show up in the world.  It’s how you describe your ideal character, with respect to your actions and your interactions with others.  You might also hear it called a creed or a code of conduct.

A good place to start is to spend some time thinking about what your values are.  There are many websites out there that list a bunch of potential values that you might find resonate with you.  I like this one that walks you through a quick exercise to select some potential values, then group them and narrow them down to a small list (3-5 is great).
The values that I keep coming back to when I run through this exercise are personal development, discipline, perseverance, humility, and service.  All of these give me a positive charge of energy, and I feel that when I am truly embodying these values I feel most alive.

Once you have identified your values (and it doesn’t have to be perfect – it’s a good idea to revisit these once in a while to reflect on if you are actually living them, or if they seem like someone else’s values), begin to craft them into action-oriented statements.  See if you can elaborate on each of these values in a way that instructs you how to live that quality each day.
For the value of Perseverance, the phrases I came up with were:
 – Never quit
 – Thrive in adverse situations
 – Create physical and mental toughness

Putting it all together, you will create your personal ethos.  Checking in with this each morning is a great way to remind yourself what your mindset should be when making key decisions, and how you want to “show up” with your family, friends, and teammates.

Here is mine (after many iterations!):

Each day I will strive to master myself so that I can I humbly serve my family and my community.

In order to succeed, I must be disciplined and innovative. The success of our CFKI mission depends on me — my coaching skill, leadership, and business acumen. My training is never complete.

I step up to challenges, and I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My community expects me to be an example of physical and mental toughness. I must earn their respect every day.

Creating an ethos, or code of conduct, will not be a quick one-and-done endeavor, but if you invest some time in it and create a statement that you want to truly live by, it can be a powerful daily tool to keep you on mission.  Enjoy the process!


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