How do you know whether you’re serious about your values? You fight for them when they’re violated even if it costs you title, favor, friendship, and profit.
~ Assegid Habtewold ~
I’ve been reading articles about what’s been going on with Lands’ End. In case you haven’t heard about it, Lands’ End is the organization that featured Gloria Steinem in its catalog Legend Series. Shortly thereafter, it dropped her following a backlash from a certain conservative segment of its customer base.
This post isn’t an indictment of Lands’ End. Instead, it offers an interesting insight into what happens when organizations, or individuals, either aren’t clear about their core values or they lose sight of them.
According to the articles, Lands’ End has been struggling to reinvent itself. I’m sure they had good intentions when they chose to showcase Gloria Steinem in their spring catalog. They are probably savvy enough to recognize that customers want companies to be socially aware and engaging these days.
What could be better than showcasing a legendary figure like Gloria Steinem? Nothing, if you are clear about what she stands for and how that aligns with your core values, and those of your customers. Nothing, if you are willing to stand by who you choose to showcase even if it opens you up to criticism.
Would Lands’ End be in so much hot water if they had not dropped Steinem from their catalog? And then apologized for offending someone?
Maybe, but probably not. Instead, their actions kicked off a tidal wave of backlash from just about everyone.
There’s a grand lesson to be learned as we watch Lands’ End struggle to reinvent itself. Will it fade into the mist as a result of the backlash? Or will it come through the storm to become a stronger company with clear and sexy core values? Only time will tell.
What does this have to do with you designing and building your Sexy Second Act?
Going through a career or life transition can leave you feeling lost and uncertain. You may be grappling with how to leave the past behind you while figuring out what’s next for you as you face a future that seems scary and unknown.
That’s when it’s most important for you to be clear about your core values. They keep you grounded in the midst of the swirl and chaos of a transition.
You must be willing to own and stand by your core values, regardless of what others say or think. Some people may not like you or agree with what you stand for, but they will respect you for standing for something. You will respect yourself, too.
How do you know whether you are living in alignment with your core values? One way is to pay attention to areas of your life that are not working well. For example, if you value beauty and harmony, but you are living or working in a chaotic and messy environment, you may feel constantly anxious and exhausted and not know why.
Another way is to look at areas of your life that are working okay, but you feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Figuring out what’s missing can lead you toward identifying one or more of your core values.
I once worked with a client who valued having lots of interaction with others, but she was stuck behind a desk in a back room where she hardly ever saw anyone. Recognizing what she needed to feel happy and fulfilled helped her break free of that job to look for stimulating opportunities. She now leads a completely different life where she is constantly engaged with other people.
If you still don’t know where to start, think about successful people you admire. Make a list of the qualities you admire about them. It’s likely that you have core values in common. How can you begin to model those core values in your own life?
Living according to your core values keeps you on track and strong in the face of adversity. You are clear about your boundaries. That makes you someone who is not easily messed with. Others feel safe and certain around you. They know what to expect from you.
Being true to your core values means that you no longer feel the need to convert anyone else. You live them, and that is all you need to do. Honoring and living in alignment with your core values makes you a leader. You will attract the people you are meant to influence. That’s sexy!
Are you interested in getting a clear picture of your values and how you can use them to design and build your Sexy Second Act? I can help! Contact me to schedule your complimentary “get acquainted” strategy session