I believe in developing a set of principles by which to live one’s life and that what someone’s principles are (intentional or unconscious) is important to understanding them beyond their achievements. These are the principles I try to live by, though I’m far from perfect at it. They will also change over time but this list should at least convey something more substantial about who I am and the philosophy that guides me.
If you know me personally, you are welcome to hold me accountable to these principles. And if you feel moved to, I invite you to do some reflection to create your own list of principles you’re willing to actively commit to and to publish or share them.
Principles I strive to live by:
Don’t be a victim. I sincerely believe in the value of taking responsibility, no matter the circumstances, and picking yourself up and moving forward. I believe that even when bad things happen, there’s value in acknowledging the pain (and processing it with self-compassion) but on doggedly focusing on how to transmute it into wisdom and momentum instead of letting it define or limit you. In my most difficult moments, this is the attitude that saved me and I’ve stuck to it ever since.
No excuses. (Play like a champion.) If I say I want something, I will do my best to take action towards it. If I am making excuses, it means I’m either being indulgent (see Rule #1) or dishonest/unclear about what I really want. If I fail or get stuck, it’s on me to figure out how to take the next step, even if it’s small—because life owes me nothing and it’s no one’s job but mine to commit to my dreams.
Judge no one. This one isn’t always easy, but I truly believe that everyone, no matter their actions, has their reasons for doing what they do even if we (or they) can’t see them, and that it’s no one’s place to judge because we simply lack the required data to determine with certainty that we would not behave similarly given the same wiring, personal story, and incentives. I believe that every single person deserves compassion and understanding. Especially the people who are hardest to extend compassion to.
Speak with intention. I believe words are powerful and should be used with precision, honesty, and constructive intention. I strive to choose my words carefully and enjoy being around other people who do because I find that the best communicators are self-aware, tactful, and clear thinking.
Ruthlessly edit. I am a big fan of KonMari-ing not just my sock drawer but my entire life, from the social to the professional. I try to live by the “fuck yes or no” test as much as I can, which I consider both a practice of self-love and a recipe for joy and success.
Do the work. With every personal challenge, I try to identify not only what external actions need to be taken but what internal beliefs and patterns I need to address to achieve what my desired result. I’m obsessive about personal development and have dedicated myself for over a decade now to becoming the best version of myself so I can thrive and serve, and I believe that every challenge is simply an opportunity to develop greater understanding and resilience.
Be of service. My dream is to live in a world where giving precedes taking and all success is based on caring deeply about others. I don’t know that we can ever get there, but I believe in the personal and collective power of this perspective so strongly that I’d like my life to be a living example of this kind of service. I believe that the highest version of human civilization is one in which win-win thinking prevails and all of our institutions and organizations are organized around this principle of generosity—and that it’s up to each of us to take steps towards this reality.