A few years ago I was given an assignment: identify your Top Life Principles. Every once in a while I stumble across the file I created and add to or refine it. It’s actually served as an interesting type of journal that shows what type of issues I was encountering and the way I wanted to “reframe” my perspective. My list in 2010 was pretty long – I’m sharing a shortened version below. My 2012 is considerably shorter, but I think the concepts are more meaningful to me.
Here’s my list from 2010
- Lead what you’ve been given.
- Don’t plan. Strategize.
- Calling: the thing that yields the most with the least energy drain.
- Comfort with ambiguity is tied to: a) need for control and b) trust level with person being ambiguous.
- In difficult situations:
- Identify assumptions.
- Double check meaning.
- Think about resolution goal.
- Fix the cause not the symptoms.
- Don’t hang onto only one option: come up with several options that you will be satisfied with.
- Call. Don’t email.
- Choose the communication style the other person prefers.
- People matter. Period. Respect others even if they don’t “earn” it, because they are made in the image of God.
- Under promise, over deliver.
- Excellence is being effective, efficient and enthusiastic.
- Fruits of the Spirit are gifts from God. Stop trying to manufacture them.
- Strength and change begins when I admitting that I’m powerless to do what I need/want to do and God is the only hope. The amount of strength God gives me changes each day based on what I will be facing. Never assume that today I’ll have the same strength as yesterday.
- Dreaming brings joy and motivation to life.
- Happiness IS a choice.
- Ask yourself: “Is it sinful (Gal. 5)?” If not, then ask, “is it wise?”
This list reminds me of where I was two years ago: I was wrestling with conflict that I felt ill-equipped to handle, I felt like my career was lightyears away from my calling, I was unmotivated and unhappy and was struggling with my relationship with Christ.
I wonder what my 2012 list will remind me of when I look back on it in 2014:
- People matter. Period.
- It’s possible to push for change while respecting and submitting to authority.
- Create space for others that cultivates growth and ideas.
- Identify and resolve the cause not the symptoms.
- Always think strategy. Failing to plan may equal planning to fail, but a strategy is more adaptable and useful than a plan, especially in fast paced environments
- Under promise, over deliver.
- Weakness is not necessarily synonymous with sin.
Right now, this list reminds me that I’m wrestling with my weaknesses and my sinfulness (#8). I’ve identified principles that have lasting value to me (#1, 4, 5 and 6). I’ve identified two areas where God has, and is continuing to, stretch me in my professional and personal life (#2 and 3). I want to add a few principles but they don’t have the clarity I want them to. They are related to mentoring/discipleship and what it means to be a Christian woman with the gift of leadership.
What about you? What are the top life principles that are meaningful to you right now?