In January of 2011 I read the book, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com. At a time when I was thinking about setting goals and making “resolutions” for the coming year, the business book describing a new age in corporate leadership, had an amazing impact.
Tony and his team drive Zappos.com based on their defined set of core values. They hire and fire associates based on these values, not on job performance. They also place customer and employee happiness, defined by their core values, above the “bottom line”.
So…my mind was reeling. If the byproduct of a company driven by core values is profits, (Zappos.com hit over $ 1 Billion in gross merchandise sales in less than 10 years. It seems that profits are the welcome byproduct of a “value based” leadership team.) maybe the byproduct of a life driven by core values is self actualization; or the achieving of one’s full potential. That (achieving one’s full potential) is the reason you make a New Year’s Resolution…Right?
In 2011 I decided to not make resolutions. I instead, defined my core values based on what I believe it would take for me to enjoy life. Living my life in joy and happiness may seem like a gluttonous way to walk through this world, however, I am adopting the Aristotelean concept, eudemonia, that the goal of life is happiness, to be achieved through reaching one’s full potential as opposed to through the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure. (The Thinkers Thesaurus)
In order to realize my core values, I went on a meditative journey; an exploration of the mind, body, & spirit. Following is the result of my pilgrimage…
- Keep life simple and close to nature
- Exemplify whole health through the mind, body, spirit connection
- Face my demons and welcome opportunities for personal growth
- Be adventurous, creative, and open minded
- Cultivate beauty and fun
- Love passionately
- Build open and honest relationships through compassionate communication
- Embrace change
- Live and speak my personal truth
- Be humble
I have found that the form of happiness achieved from reaching a “goal” is short-lived. No sooner are you patting yourself on the back; acknowledging your power, than you are feeling restless; needing to “find your purpose” and climb another mountain. While living within the framework of a set of core values I am living my desirable quality of life. This quality of life shapes a happiness that is dense and rooted. It is based on what I intuitively know about myself and what will guide me into living at my full potential every moment of every day.