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Define Your Guiding Principles
businessmen in skyscrapper
By John Barrows | May 31, 2017

Last week I wrote a blog post about the exercise I did at Vayner Media’s 4D workshop that helped me redefine my ‘Why.’ We were asked to define our ‘Pillars of Behavior’ which are our values. Earlier in my career I had done a similar exercise where I defined my Guiding Principles of success.

I was prompted to make this list after reading books on success like, Think and Grow Rich which talks about the importance of goal setting and having principles. It was a while ago so the details are foggy, but it worked. The list of guidelines I developed helped me to achieve my goals in sales, business, and life. After a few different versions, I ended up with these 12 Guiding Principles:

  1. Work smart AND hard
  2. Always ask for feedback
  3. Continuously set S.MA.R.T. goals
  4. Earn everything
  5. Be open and honest with everyone, especially yourself
  6. Don’t think you’re better than anyone else but know no one is better than you
  7. Confidence overcomes most shortcomings except an ego
  8. Find your passion or find something else to do
  9. What goes around comes around
  10. You can learn something new from everyone and every situation
  11. Be ok with worst case scenario
  12. Get at least 1% better every day

This exercise and my resulting Guiding Principles have helped me stay focused and have had a very positive impact on my career. They’ve also helped to let other people know where I’m coming from when I make decisions, specifically employees and partners.

No matter who we are in life or where we are in our career, it’s worth taking time to define our guiding principles. Think about your values and write down your own Pillars of Behavior or Guiding Principles of Success. You’ll alway know when you’re off course and will be able to stay more grounded and focused on your goals.

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