Joe Tye: Finding his contribution Pt. 2
Joe Tye describes his past self as “substantially inauthentic and superficial.” (See Pt. 1) I think people who’ve found their soul can admit their superficiality.
During the years of failure and struggle Joe began connection with his values.
Your values give you answers and when Joe found his, he found his way. He said, “I like who I am today.”
Joe is learning to do what every leader I’ve interviewed says. “Be yourself.” He’s learning it and teaching it all over the world. Joe asks people a series of questions that uncover their values. One question is:
“What would you do if all jobs had the same social status and every job paid the same?”
Where to who
Finding your answers requires a shift in thinking. Joe taught me to shift from “where” to “who.”
We’re usually focused on our circumstances, the “where” of life. Joe says focus on who you are. I think it’s a shift that lifts you above feeling pushed around by life.
The next thing Joe shared sounds more like religion than leadership. He said, “I’m learning to transcend what’s in it for me.” He calls it, “Extravagant generosity in small things.” Its things like leaving large tips after breakfast.
He practices what he preaches. If you read my review of, “All Hands on Deck,” you’ll see he generously gave 100 copies of his books. Out of respect, I’m not sharing what he did for the organization I lead.
These are the “almost successful” years for Joe Tye. He isn’t “successful” because success is a journey not a destination.
He’s striving not arriving.
How does one learn to live by their values?
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I hope I’m not going too far out on a limb here, but for me to live by my values, I have to know where those values come from. It they are derived simply from me deciding I’m going to be a good person and do the right things, when I fail at meeting those expectations, I only disappoint myself. I find it very easy to be intellectually dis-honest with myself, way to often.
So, for me, I choose to find my strength through my Creator. He’s the only thing I’ve found that will never judge me because of my failures. His grace in sending His Son to die for me, motivates me to live my life, my beliefs and my values out loud. It’s from a grateful heart that I’m motivated to look at myself in the mirror and change what I see. Apart from God’s grace, too often I simply look in the mirror and do nothing about what I see. That’s my sin nature, it’s lazy. It makes it easy for me to only have values that meet the world’s standards.
Values that come from a perfect being, that chose to love me first, in spite of all of my many flaws, are the only vales that I find worth living.
The comments on Leadership Freak are pretty open. I’m glad you feel free to share your views on values.
Obviously the focus of Leadership Freak is leadership not faith or religion. However, your comment is both personal and on topic.
Joe’s journey toward transcendence remind me a bit of Howard Friedman’s research on longevity.
Specifically, the finding that “helping and loving others is more important to health than feeling helped and loved oneself. Sounds philosophical but turned out to be scientific fact.”
Here’s the link: http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/17/the-secrets-to-long-life-theyre-not-what-you-thought/
I always love it when people not only share their thoughts and stories but also extend the conversation. Thanks for adding value.
How does one learn to live by their values?
I think this is a lesson learned earlier by some people than by others. I like to think a lot of it begins at home, but we all certainly know people who grew up in the most value-laden of environments but did not demonstrate those values until they learned a few (or a lot of) life lessons.
I really, really love the phrase “extravagant generosity in small ways.” Although my kids have moved on now, nothing made me grateful when they were little as an adult who would speak to them kindly, overlook a bit of mischief on behalf of a fidgety little boy, or in some other way say something supportive or kind or helpful to me as a parent with a full plate.
I also believe that the extravagant generosity comes back around in time. I was at an organization once where a staff member volunteered to take pictures of a staff activity — but then after the fact grumbled about not being compensated. From my perspective, the staff member got a) more experience with photography b) the goodwill of organizational leadership c) samples for a portfoli and d) the “status” of being the event photographer and getting to have a special role in the event. Rewards aren’t always about money — living out values of extravagant generosity reward our spirits even when they don’t reward our pocketbooks.
Leadership is about striving and not ariving. It is very powerful statement. As long as we strive, we live, sooner we stop striving, we stop to be leader. At the same time, when we feel that we have arrived then we become directionless. I think we should keep on stretching our boundary of success as soon as we are about the reach there. As, Joe rightly says, success is journey, not destination. The question “what would you do if all jobs had the same social status and every job paid the same?” provides great insight about value system. We usually compare our position with social status with self approved ideas. This question put people to think about what is the most important for them, when they change the job.
I stongly believe that one can learn to live by his values by comparing comparing opportunity connected with values and without values , and that is sustainbale. One should also measure the kind of legacy or shadow do you leave when you leave the organisation or even this world.
I believe, one should not trade off with values . You should live as per your terms that values your values and belief. If it is not possible, then keep on looking for options. Sooner or later you will find it. The world is full of options and opportunities for them who believe and can see it.
Great understanding precedes great living. When I know 3 things about myself, I can fly (like a pilot checking all the details of the airplane before take-off). The three things are:
1) What is my passion? (what is the thing that energizes me?)
2) What is my personality? (am I fast-paced or methodical, am I people-oriented or task?)
3) What are my proficiencies? (what skills do I possess, the tasks that come easy to me?)
Now I’ve checked my aircraft. I’m ready to fly, spending 80% of my waking hours engaged in what honors my passion, personality, and proficiencies.
Well said Scott. I particularly like the aircraft analogy. Flying is a great experience when one feels safe after as you said checking the aircraft. Thanks, Al
Great post Dan,
I believe the great majority of us have developed our values over time and different experiences starting from childhood. Some of us have been blessed with having great role models and mentors throughout our lives. When we travel the values that have been cemented will help us deal with the bumps in the road. Putting in that little extra can make the things we do “extraordinary.” Joe’s extravagant generosity in small ways also touched a nerve with me. Sometimes the smallest of things can have a huge impact on others, something as simple as a smile or a pat on the back. Our behavior based on ingrained values happens automatically and without thought. Our actions will always mirror our values and our challenge is to keep that mirror as pristine as possible. Cheers, Al
My religious values form the foundation of who I am and what is important to me. One of the tenants of my faith is valuing and helping others. I find that I am happiest and most fulfilled when my focus shifts from me to those around me.
Hi Dan, nice post, a favorite topic – values.
I think the challenge is in knowing what they are, moreso than living by them. If you are really lucid in understanding your values, living by them is pretty easy, they are the beacon which guides you. This comes through clearly in the expressions of faith by people commenting here. I also suspect that often Mums like Paula have a better grip on the important values in their life; being responsible for other lives I think provides that opportunity to hone the focus and understanding of your own values.
I also think of an interview with Stephen Coveys son, when asked if his dad really lived to the values that he outlined in his (great) books he said something like ‘he tries really hard all the time, it is what he believes and lives by’ and I think that view of ‘not quite perfect’ is important to have as well.
Thanks everyone for some thought provoking stuff. I’m off to be extravagantly generous in small ways.
We can only learn to live by our values if we know our values and if we are honest with ourselves and recognize that, as leaders, we all have a dark side and therefore will never fully live according to our values. Nevertheless, steps can be taken to:
1) Make sure we know our personal values
2) Align our lifestyles with those personal values
3) Continue a praxis that is conducive to aligning our values with our lifestyle
To be practical, one should start by writing out one’s Top 5 values. Then take time to reflect on life and observe oneself while at home, at work and at play. The “proof is in the pudding.” One should see one’s values explicitly working within everyday life.
If you see yourself being a hypocrite and you see yourself breaking your own values values, make a note of it. Maybe even create a journal. Do what works for you so as to align your actions with your values.
If you are young like me, find someone else to keep you accountable, that you can continue to bounce your thoughts off of, that will mentor you and that you can remain in dialogue with. This person can help you if you fail, but will also commend you when you succeed.
Regardless of age, community is the most powerful remedy against falling prey to our own self-interest. Indeed, we need one another and the wisdom and encouragement of one another if we are to stay true to our values and then take the step in aligning them each and every day in every facet of our lives.