Collecting Life Principles

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

  1. Lead what you’ve been given.
  2. Don’t plan. Strategize.
  3. Calling: the thing that yields the most with the least energy drain.
  4. Comfort with ambiguity is tied to: a) need for control and b) trust level with person being ambiguous.
  5. In difficult situations:
    1. Identify assumptions.
    2. Double check meaning.
    3. Think about resolution goal.
    4. Fix the cause not the symptoms.
    5. Don’t hang onto only one option: come up with several options that you will be satisfied with.
    6. Call. Don’t email.
  6. Choose the communication style the other person prefers.
  7. People matter. Period. Respect others even if they don’t “earn” it, because they are made in the image of God.
  8. Under promise, over deliver.
  9. Excellence is being effective, efficient and enthusiastic.
  10. Fruits of the Spirit are gifts from God. Stop trying to manufacture them.
  11. 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.
  12. Dreaming brings joy and motivation to life.
  13. Happiness IS a choice.
  14. 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:

  1. People matter. Period.
  2. It’s possible to push for change while respecting and submitting to authority.
  3. Create space for others that cultivates growth and ideas.
  4. Identify and resolve the cause not the symptoms.
  5. 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
  6. Under promise, over deliver.
  7. 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?

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