Did you know that under 10% of businesses have written values? Do you?

What do you value?

Mine are shared below and I’d love to know if you have values that are written down, because having them written makes your business more effective and will help you to thrive.

When I started going to counseling for depression and anxiety in 2015, my counselor had me define my values so I could live according to them. Through focusing on what is important to me in life, I believe that my values are integrity, authenticity, family, hard work and compassion. Because I know what my values are, I am able to live by them which gives me a more fulfilled, defined life.

The family (and my mother in law) at the ball game last week.

At home, because I value family, we spend a lot of time together and do a lot together as a family. In 2015, I left the Navy to stay at home with my family. It was important to me to be at home with my three kids and not have to place them in daycare for a majority of the day. They will not be little forever and I want to enjoy that time together as they grow. My husband and I are probably unlike most parents who feel like spending money on experiences is more important than spending money on things. We have focused on taking longer trips and local trips and day excursions with them and they really enjoy the time together. We want our kids to know that we value them and we are invested in them growing up well. Our legacy is our children and if we are going to be effective leaders, which I believe both my husband and I are called to be, our leadership needs to be at home first and foremost.

Compassion is a value I use frequently at home as well. Because I am a mom, my kids come to me with all of their maladies and I, of course, have to be compassionate and full of empathy towards them. While this is not always easy, if I value compassion, I want to portray that at home before I can portray them in public. I am a leader in my house and of my children and I want to raise children who are compassionate. As we read in Kouzes and Posner’s book, Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge, if we want to be effective leaders, we have to lead by example first, not just say what to do. I believe this is the best way to raise children to be the best they can be.

In owning my own business, my reputation and referrals are everything. The biggest value that comes through daily is integrity. I have built my business on doing what needs to be done and doing it how and when I say I am going to do something. My clients know they can trust me to bill them properly and not be adding extra time onto my hour count. These two business practices have earned me referrals that have grown my business in the last year and a half as well as retaining a client for over a year, something that not many business owners in my field can say they have done.

Instagram and Facebook (social media in general) is important to online small business owners and I have created a personal brand for my own business and my book where authenticity is part of who I am both in my business and personal life. While many opt to have the “pretty” picture that is styled and perfect for their social media, I have opted to show real life which also includes laundry, working on top of laundry and sharing my heart on topics. While I don’t share everything, I am creating business relationships and friendships where people trust me to share real life and in turn, someone they can trust in their business or someone they can refer others to when they need a business manager or help with finding the right virtual assistant. What does building authenticity look like on my Instagram? Look here.

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