I learned something very important from Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which changed my business.

Principles are not the same as values.

 

Here’s why:

• Values change according to time, place, situations, and the people involved. (“A woman’s place is in the home” is a powerful example. Thankfully we’ve come a long way from that, at least in some parts of the world.)

• Values create your beliefs: how you see the world, how you relate to other people, how you interpret your experiences, and how you choose to act. (And sometimes you may not even understand why you do what you do.)

• Some of your values and beliefs may not be supporting your success. Because values and beliefs come (unchosen) from many people, places, and situations outside of ourselves.

• Values and beliefs affect everything in your life, leadership, perspective, communication, marketing, selling, relationships, experiences, and success.

Think of it like this: since values are guaranteed to change, how can you run your business (or your life) based on them?

Realistically, it’s not going to work in the long run. So, I invite you to focus on principles instead.

Because principles are like gravity. They’re a constant… expressing the core, unchanging elements of your purpose. They’re like the “North Star” in your business or organization, keeping you (and everyone else) on track.

Covey’s teaching (plus my own reflections) inspired me to create and implement my own 7 Principles of Influence With A Heart™.

These are based on trust, integrity, compassion, service, respect, legacy, and joy.

These 7 Principles guide my choices and decisions (big ones and little ones) in my business and in my life. They help me express my purpose by offering me inspiration, guidance, and a roadmap. Here’s how they look:

1. Principle of High Integrity Success
I measure success through the people I serve, how I am living and expressing my purpose (in my life and business), and the value I create.

• Since negative thoughts, words, and actions yield negative results, I do my best to focus on the positive, even in the most challenging circumstances.
• Sometimes this requires changing my habits, beliefs, perspectives, and attitudes because they affect others, my business, and me.

2. Principle of The Other Person’s Shoes
All of my choices need to be informed by more than just my own perspective. When I am about to make a choice, I remind myself to ask these questions.

• How will this choice affect my client?
• What about other people that my business touches?
• The community and the environment?
• The people who are alive, seven generations down the line from right now?
• Will everyone benefit, based on the choice that I am about to make?

3. Principle of Truth and Respect
What I think, say, and do affects me and the people around me. Because of this, I do my best to be aware of my thoughts words, and actions.

• Do I feel open, calm, and spacious… or constricted, reactive, and defensive?
• Am I telling the truth?
• Am I treating people with respect?
• How am I standing?
• What is my tone of voice?
• How can I create something beautiful and positive with what I think, say, and do?

4. Principle of Growing and Sharing Wealth
I am in business to make a difference and create wealth. The more money I make, the more people I can help.

• I know money is a result of my service and the value I bring to others, not the goal unto itself.
• Am I creating wealth responsibly, using it to serve others, and taking care of myself and my relationships…as I take this journey?

5. Principle of Community and Competition
I do my best to focus on cooperation. I know I have a far greater reach and impact by working with clients, partners, and others who, in turn, will reach out and positively affect others.

• The only competition is with myself. So I strive to grow and achieve more each day to make my business more successful, help more people, and inspire others through my ideas, message, work, and example.

6. Principle of Personal Responsibility
Because all people want to be happy, healthy, safe, and secure (just like you and me), I do my best to make choices that are aligned with my principles and are an expression of who I am… while being mindful of how these choices affect others.

• I recognize that every person creates their reality and experiences based on habits, conditioning, history, beliefs, and attitudes.
• Because of this, I take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to me, as well as how I affect other people.
• If something needs to change, I have the power to change it.
• I am not afraid to say, “I’m sorry.”
• I also realize that other people are responsible for their own thoughts, words, choices, and actions.

7. Principle of Compassionate Service
I recognize the immense suffering in the world. At the same time, I recognize that I can help.

• Through empathy (being able to experience another person’s situation by seeing the world through their eyes), I cultivate compassion which gives me the energy and inspiration to serve.
• Then I no longer focus on the suffering and problems, but shift my focus to solutions. How can I help people and the planet, through my actions today and the legacy that survives me, after I’m long gone?

These are the 7 Principles of Influence With A Heart. May they inspire and serve you in the best possible ways.

• • •

If you want to get clearer about your principles and then apply then to your business (for greater success and impact), please contact me directly: ben (at) influencewithaheart.com

Influence With A Heart and Marketing With A Heart by Ben Gioia

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