It’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever built anything, whether a house, a garage, a shed or even just a model ship or toy, that if you want it to last, you have to have a solid foundation. This is true no matter what you’re building, right? The bigger the thing you build, the stronger the foundation needs to be. The tallest skyscraper has a foundation that can go hundreds of feet into the ground until it reaches the bedrock, because it needs to be anchored to something solid.
It’s a simple idea and one that any engineer or architect will take for granted. They don’t even begin conceiving their huge projects without first knowing the ground it’ll be built on. Why? Because the ground will be one of the largest factors in how large they can build. How big a footprint to how high they can go is limited by the type of ground, the terrain and what’s under the ground to anchor what they want to build.
The same is true for our Success. To create the Success we desire in our lives, we have to have a rock-solid foundation to build upon. That foundation too will determine the size and scope of the Success we can create. That foundation will either limit you or free you to pursue your dreams. The foundation for your Success is also as different and varied as the ground all the world’s buildings are built on.
What is this foundation for your Success?
It’s your Values.
Yep, your values. What you believe and what you hold most dear shapes you. It shapes what you think, what you believe, what you want, how you react, how you analyze and evaluate situations, how you make decisions and what kind of person you are to others.
All of these things are determined by your Values and in turn they influence everything that happens in your life. Everything.
For instance if one of your Values is Service, then you are likely to express that Value in a multitude of possible ways. You might volunteer at a soup kitchen or at your Church. You might take on extra responsibilities at work because someone has to do it and no one else steps up. You might put in extra time at work to get things done right because you want to produce the best product you can. You might habitually take care of dinner and the kids to relieve the stress on your spouse when they have a particularly bad day or week at their own job. Each one of these is a form of Service.
Now what if one of your Values is Wealth? What would that look like? Would it mean you work long hours at the expense of your family? Would it mean you chase any possible deal, no matter how risky? Would it mean that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to build your bank account and portfolio? Would it mean instead that you pursue a steady plan of investments and business building that produces a long term income that is re-invested continually?
Both of these Values can be used properly or abused. Service to others can come at the expense of your family, or it can be used to build up your family and relationships, personally and professionally. Wealth and its pursuit can turn money into an idol that is all you think about, or it can be drive you to create a long-term ability to take care of your family and others.
Values are not isolated. They work in concert with each other and they complement each other when we take care to choose our Values and how we will live them out. If we don’t take care to do that, it’s like building our lives on sand. It’s shifting, messy ground that can be swept away in a storm, shattering the Success we’re trying to build. But when working together they’re like the deep, solid bedrock a skyscraper is build on. Solid and able to withstand the trials and setbacks we’ll encounter.