What Principles Do You Live By in Business and Life?

When working with coaching and consulting clients, particularly Executive Assistants and Chiefs of Staff, I like to start off with finding out if they are clear on the values and goals of their company and their Executive. This is the starting point for much of our discussions and growth. Why? Because without these North Stars to guide them, how can they be sure about what the priorities are, what projects to pursue and which ones to pass on and, in general, how best to support their Principal?

Goals, vision, and values are great. Principles take you to a whole other level.

What are Principles?

Principles are the fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief, behavior, or chain of reasoning. Principles help leaders and Force Multipliers make decisions, provide clarity, and guide the organization forward.

Does your organization or your Executive have a manifesto—a written statement of the principles by which they lead the organization or their life? If they do but don’t have them written down, that’s step one. If your Principal is not clear on their principles, start the conversation and help them develop a list!

As you will see from Adam’s principles below, one of his guiding principles for life is, “Learn, work, and play every day.” As his Force Multiplier, this is great insight for me to have as I’m structuring his calendar, vetting new opportunities, and deciding what meetings can be delegated. I also keep his principle, “Be authentic and true to yourself,” in mind constantly. We get a lot of requests (even internally) for Adam to be more visible on social media or attend a particular event or social function. I know that those are not the ways and strategies that Adam prefers to show up. Because I’m aware of this principle, I again am able to guide his weekly and monthly agendas and purposefully provide alternative options to achieve the same result for our team members or the public, while ensuring Adam stays true to himself. For example, I would arrange that we pre-record a keynote speech that would typically air at 6pm, so that it doesn’t interfere with his family time.

And, of course, make sure YOU are clear on what your principles are. Compare them with your Executive’s and the organization’s. Are they in alignment? They may be areas that have caused you conflict in the past—particularly when faced with difficult decisions. It could be a matter of conflicting principles. Generally, once you are aware of them, you can work through that challenge. The key here is awareness. Get clear on your Executive’s/company’s principles and get clear on your own. Clarity is power, and having these principles in the forefront of your mind (or better yet, on your iPhone screensaver!) makes determining what course of action to take when faced with multiple opportunities or several “no good” solutions much easier.

Example Principles From the Business World

Adam Hergenrother‘s Principles

This is a sample of Adam’s principles. Listen to this episode of The 220% Life Podcast to hear more about principles from Adam.

  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Decisions should be based on joy.
  • Need nothing and enjoy everything.
  • Learn, work, and play every day.
  • Be authentic and true to yourself.
  • Ask big questions—ones that only you can answer.

Ray Dalio’s Principles for Success

This is not a complete list. To read more about Dalio’s principles, read Principles: Life and Work.

  • Pain + Reflection = Progress
  • Evolve or die.
  • Own your outcomes.
  • Be radically truthful and radically transparent.
  • You can have virtually anything you want but not everything you want, so you need to prioritize well.
  • Make your work and your passion one and the same and do it with people you want to be with.
  • Meaningful work and meaningful relationships are the greatest assets and the greatest rewards.

Mindvalley’s Manifesto

  1. We are not an “American” nor a “Malaysian” company, but an “Earth” company.
  2. We transform our people into the best version of themselves.
  3. We innovate rapidly to stay on the leading edge of exponential change.
  4. We believe happiness is the single most powerful tool for productivity.
  5. We nurture a culture of gratitude, compassion, and appreciation.
  6. We believe in serving humanity first.
  7. We stand up for what we believe in.
  8. We unite our customers, our employees and our authors into one community.

Oprah’s Guiding Principle

The principle of intention.

Oprah said, “That an intention precedes every thought and every action, and the outcome of your experiences is determined by the intention. This principle of intention is literally what saved and changed the trajectory of my living.”

Hallie’s Principles for Life

  • Stay curious, ask powerful questions, and remain open-minded.
  • Never stop learning and growing.
  • Engage in real, honest, and thought-provoking conversations, disagree, and commit.
  • Remember your priorities and act accordingly.
  • External success and inner peace are not mutually exclusive.
  • You can have anything you want, as long as you are extremely clear on what that is and you are willing to do the work.
  • Invest time and energy into cultivating trust and loyalty with the key people in your life.
  • A meaningful life is created through simplicity and big thinking.
  • Embrace your strengths and leverage your weaknesses.

Your turn! What are your principles? Share in the comments below or shoot me an email at hello@founderandforcemultiplier.com.

This post originally appeared on August 26, 2021.

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