Scrawny Arms, Peaked in High School, Overly Paranoid? What version of Rob Lowe do you consider to be his best?  I personally favor the Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe, albeit it’s likely not his best self.  Like Mr. Lowe, we all reveal different versions of ourselves as we react to our circumstances.  This is one such reaction.

I have been told my core values don’t follow an “appropriate model for business core values”. Well, here is a truth bomb for the naysayers.  2 of my 5 core values aren’t centered around the business I conduct because how I conduct business (and just plain ‘ole life)  is far more important.

The 2 core values up for debate are:

  • To pay our best selves forward
  • To be kind, tolerant and useful

I want to build an organization that helps its employees to be the very best versions of themselves. And for them to turn around and help anyone they encounter in life to be the best versions of themselves.  It’s hard.  Being human makes this hard.  We have stress, we have pride, we have tempers, we have bad days. It can be easy to let life barrel over you and exhausted, you succumb to the worst version of yourself. You’re pissed off at your boss, at gender roles, the custody agreement, at Kaepernick, the crap on Facebook, the person driving SO TERRIBLY SLOW on your way home from a long frustrating day…life piles up. Emotions pile up.

The series of interactions we have, with people and with life, can make it easy for us to forfeit the day and begin disturbing those around us with our forces of sour. When we do that, we set others up to be the ugliest versions of themselves, the Super Creepy Rob Lowes.  This cycle is not fun.  It’s not fun to know that your thoughts or behaviors are those of someone you don’t admire.  It makes it hard to sleep at night.  Virtual interactions aside, this can be the most difficult when we are in our work environments.

So how do these core values help?

We only get 168 hours a week.  When we are lucky, we are asleep for about 56 of those.  Excluding the weekends, most of us spend half of our waking hours at work. Half of our time is dedicated to co-worker, customer or vendor/supplier interactions.  If someone is going to dedicate half of their life to helping my business succeed, I will commit to fostering a place that they can appreciate showing up to.  A place where they are treated with kindness and tolerance and that nurtures and invests in their best self. Their best self being the Kind Tolerant and Useful Rob Lowe.

These core values remind me to set the team up to win each day.  They remind me that the decisions I make or how I behave will affect those around me. The same goes for everyone. The core values are there as guiding principles for the team to hold true, that the series of decisions we make throughout each day will ultimately settle the headspace we are in when we hit the pillow at night.  Will we rest easy knowing we won the day or will we lay awake with guilt hoping tomorrow will treat us better? How we think, react and behave is up to us, however, these core values can be used in our recipe for life.

We certainly can’t be perfect, but we can get better with practice.  I practice considerable restraint each day, this is me practicing tolerance.  Ohhhh the virtual black hole of social media.  When I see something on social media that I want to immediately push out my opinion on, I will erratically type out my profound words of wisdom (that will certainly change the world) but before I push send I might ask myself, is this kind? Am I being tolerant? Is this even useful? Or is this my Meat Head Rob Lowe acting out? Delete and move on.  To me, that has even greater impact.  Saying nothing.  When I practice tolerance it doesn’t mean I agree with what someone is saying or doing, or that I like it.  It just means, unless I can be kind and useful, I am simply moving passed this interaction and allowing this person’s opinion or behavior to exist without it affecting my headspace.  I graciously endure the dissimilar thoughts and actions of others. When I have something kind and useful to bring to an interaction, I will and I will do so with tolerance.

Beyond the spreadsheets and RFPs, these core values have had a profound impact on how I treat myself and others and I find that very appropriate to bring into the workplace.  Maybe you already have all this figured out.  If you do, you are winning.  I hope you are being useful and sharing your core values with everyone you encounter and helping them to pay their best selves forward.  Encourage this in your place of work. The world has enough Poor Decision Making Rob Lowes, let’s work toward building more kind, tolerant and useful interactions.

The naysayer who provoked my reaction and this blog post, was myself.  I can be my own worst critic, a critic that second guesses every other move and never goes away.  Now this is me silencing any doubt I had that these core values don’t belong among the pillars of my business.  These are values that I believe in and they can stay.