Superman, Wonder Woman, Mother Teresa and Gandhi lived their personal values and followed a code.
Superman holds strong to not killing, keeping his secret identity a secret, and using his powers responsibly.
Wonder Woman lives to serve as a living example of the best of her culture and she works to change, inspire and save lives.
Mother Teresa chose to “serve the poorest of the poor and to live among them and like them.”
Gandhi believed “It’s not the man that makes the vision; it’s the vision that makes the man.”
Why have a code? Because life is complicated. A code provides the blueprint for handling whatever life throws at you. It will help you evaluate situations and make decisions.
A personal code clarifies the ideas and philosophies most important to you and allows you to say “I will do this because I believe this.”
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” -Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton’s famous quote sums up the need to have clear and defined personal values and to live by a code.
Knowing your values and living by a code helps you lead. Sharing your values with others puts you “on the hook,” meaning you’re inviting others to hold you accountable. Doing this will help you become the person you truly want to be for yourself, your loved ones and your community.
If that’s not a life you want, please stop reading and go about your day and life.
I believe everyone should take the time to create their own code and I’m going to help you develop yours.
Doing this will serve you for the rest of your life. Here’s what we’re going to go cover:
- Your origin story
- Your core beliefs
- Your core values
- Creating your code
- Making it real and sustainable in your life
- Additional resources
I’m ready. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Your Origin Story
Every superhero has an origin story, and so do you. Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered. Iron man was a prisoner of war. Gandhi was appalled by the discrimination he experienced as an Indian immigrant in South Africa.
So what’s your Origin Story? Which experiences can you point to in your life that have been most profound? Which experiences shaped who you are as a person?
Just like your favorite superhero, your origin story is extremely important.
It can define you. It’s helped develop your character, and provides evidence for why you do what you do.
Think back to the challenges, obstacles and adversity you’ve faced in your life. Don’t judge or compare your experiences, just think back on them. What important decisions or changes did those experiences motivate? How have they shaped who you are today?
Take as much time as you need to reflect and think about your origin story.
Your Core Beliefs
We all have core beliefs, whether or not we’re aware of them.
Much like your phone has an operating system that’s always running in the background, our core beliefs are always guiding our decision making.
Some of them we’re given to us at birth, many were installed when we were very little, and some have been downloaded along the way.
When you think about yours, you’ll recognize what your current version is. If you’re happy with them, excellent. If you’re not, I’ve got good news; you can change them. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.
Core beliefs are our basic beliefs about ourselves, other people, and the world. We believe they are true and they influence how we interact with people and ideas.
Negative beliefs can be limiting. These are beliefs we want to root out as quickly as possible.
Below, you’ll find a list of core beliefs that serve as prompts. The ones that really resonate with you are the ones I want you to circle and focus on.
Certainly, if there’s some that are most important to you that aren’t on here, you can write them in. There’s no limit to how many you circle, you’ll refine your list as we move along.
Life is good
The universe is abundant and grants my wishes
People always like me
I can do anything I want to do
Things always work out for me
I’m good at a lot of things
My future will be better than my past
Good things happen when you make them happen
Others will help me
I can do this
I believe in myself
I can make tomorrow better
Opportunities are all around me
I can make something bad into a good thing
I am not special or different
My mind is capable of great things
My hard work will pay off
I can change if I want to
I’m not limited to anything
Learning is key
Failure does not exist
I deserve love; I can have love. I am a good person
I am worthy; I am worthwhile
I am honorable
I am lovable
I am deserving
I deserve good things
I am healthy
I am intelligent
I am significant
I deserve to be happy
I am okay as I am
I do the best I can
I am trustworthy
Now that you have your list, spend some time thinking about why the beliefs you choose are important to you. Think deeply about them and write down your thoughts. Don’t worry about being organized, just write what comes to mind.
Your Core Values
Values are the principles you feel are most important to you.
They are the things you believe in and want to support, and they can also be things you want to avoid.
Think about anything you want to change about your community or the world, and think about what could be done to make them better.
Below, you’ll find a list of values that serve as prompts. The ones that really resonate with you are the ones I want you to circle and focus on. Certainly, if there’s some that are most important to you that aren’t on here, you can write them in. There’s no limit to how many you circle, you’ll refine your list as we move along.
Now that you have your list, spend some time thinking about why the values you choose are important to you. Think deeply about them and write your thoughts. Don’t worry about being organized, just write what comes to mind.
Creating Your Code
Now it’s time to create your code. It will be a combination of your beliefs and values. Like Superman and Mother Teresa, your code will guide your decision making, actions and how you interact with everyone you come in contact with.
Think about the places you work, rest, and play and how you interact with all the people you come in contact with? There’s nothing too big or too small.
From there, you’ll use “I am” and “I will” statements to bring your code to life.
Below, you’ll find a list of examples that serve as prompts. The ones that really resonate with you are the ones I want you to circle and focus on. Certainly, if there’s some that are most important to you that aren’t on here, you can write them in. There’s no limit to how many you have, we’ll refine them as we move along.
Effective “I Am” and “I will” statements Are Written in First Person and are designed to make the statement become your identity. Simply put, when you repeat something over and over again, it becomes who you are.
They’re written in the present state, they are positive and they are emotional. You’ve thought about what you want and believe, and this practice will help bring that desired future into your current reality. Here are some examples:
- I will treat others as I wish to be treated
- I will be honest and transparent in my personal and professional life
- I will always put forth my best effort, and I will maintain a healthy work-life balance
- I am dedicated to continually improving myself
- I will keep my promises and honor my commitments
- I will remain accountable for my shortcomings or mistakes
- I will always uphold my beliefs
- I appreciate my life and will be grateful for it every day
- I fully embrace my core values and will hold myself responsible
Now you’ll craft your Code using your core beliefs, core value and “I am” statements. Think deeply about them and write down your thoughts. Again, don’t worry about being organized, just write what comes to mind. When you’re making a personal code, you’ll use “I”. When you’re making a code for your family, you’ll use “we” as I’ve done below.
Here’s my code to help guide you.
My core Beliefs
- The universe is limitless and grants my wishes
- My future will be better than my past
- Things always work out for me
My core Values
- Friendship, justice and learning
- Increase confidence, build community, live intentionally
- Encourage, empower and entertain
- We have fun with everything we do
- We work hard at everything we do
- We do our best at all times and in every aspect of our lives
- We are kind to ourselves and others
- We are honest in every aspect of our lives
- We accept responsibility for everything in our lives
There’s not a right or wrong way to do this, and you may change and refine yours whenever you like.
What’s important is that you’ve taken the time, put in effort and thought, and come up with your beliefs, values and written your code.
Making it Real and Sustainable in Your Life
Developing your code; your core beliefs and your values, will serve you for the rest of your life.
That being said, it’s not enough to do it once, you need to live your code everyday.
Read it everyday at the same time. Make it a habit, make it part of your standard operating procedure. I read mine every morning.
Be mindful and reflective as you go through your day. Where does your mind go? What are you focusing your attention on? If it’s not what you want, spend time thinking and writing about why those thoughts and feelings keep coming up. Think about what you’d like to be thinking about instead.
Making this a daily practice will help you to internalize your code and you’ll keep getting closer to the life you want.
Congratulations on taking this important action. By doing this, you’ve positioned yourself to be a leader in your own life, as well as those you care about.
For some additional help in developing your code, you can access our Values Course at no cost here.
If you haven’t already done so, I highly encourage you to go through our Goals Course. You can access it here at no cost and it can also be of great benefit to you.
Great work and good luck on your journey. We’re here to support you however we can!