If we ever feel directionless in life, defining our core values is worthy of our time. It clarifies our purpose and directs our way. My original values were diligence, prudence, shalom, balance, trust, respect, and wisdom. I’m changing them to leadership, love, and laughter.
Fruition is the mark of leadership. Nothing makes a difference in practical life more than leadership: leadership of self; leadership of others (for instance, our children); and, submitting under the leadership of others and the direction of God. Leadership is completion; mature in the manner of being.
At the precipice of leadership is trust and respect. These encapsulate integrity, which is the ability to hold an honest moment, and string them together, before humanity. Trust and respect honour the truth always. Truth constantly humbles us.
The modus operandi of leadership is diligence and prudence: the exercise of self-mastery, never achieved without God’s help. Diligence will keep going because it is disciplined. Prudence senses the danger where angels would fear to tread. Self-discipline, to do what should be done, and self-control, to manage the desires, are key attributes of the leader. Diligence and prudence, together, are the voice of our conscience.
This heavenly quality of maturity moderates the miss-our-mark temptation for rushing, frustration, fatigue, and complacency. It strengthens us against compromise.
Leadership, finally, is harnessing the right thing to do and it’s doing it. Likewise, it recognises justice and is constantly found in advocacy.
This is the premier value.
A triad of things finds itself defining love: connection, passion, and commitment.
These three work together and practical love cannot stand with one of them missing. There is the quality of connection, the drive of passion, and the safety of commitment.
Connection implies that love is incomplete without relationship, even us with ourselves. Life is never what it could be without such connection. Passion drives the need for connection and commitment stabilises it. These three are like brothers in arms, standing shoulder to shoulder in unity, each covering 120 degrees on their watch, and therefore they cover the full circle of life.
If leadership is the premier value, love is the ministership underpinning it all—the vehicle of virtue.
Seeking, learning about, and living our values is a serious exercise. Too much seriousness, however, is fraught with virtuous danger. Balance is always the operative word, and humour takes the edge off solemnity just like it’s important to temper hardened steel—otherwise it might fracture under load.
Laughter is the real sense of enjoyment, and even when it’s not raucous hilarity it can make for the timely lightening of otherwise heavy issues.
We must learn also to laugh at ourselves, otherwise we are too close to our problems and we lose perspective.
Leadership, love, and laughter: these three provide a balance regarding our motive to live life. They have us focused on every good thing. They will improve every angle of our lives.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.