The Focus Course

Brené Brown on Values

Last week I was in Peoria, Illinois for two days teaching a group of leaders about time management and focus.

Shawn Blanc SMI HQ

Yours truly at the SMI headquarters.

If you were teaching a group of executives, managers, and directors about time management, what would you say to them?

. . .

It’s a 6-hour drive from Kansas City (which is where I live) to Peoria. And so, on the way I listened to Brené Brown’s newest book, Dare to Lead (which is one of the best leadership books I’ve read, btw).

The second half of Dare to Lead kicks off with a section on the importance of our values.

There are three truths from this section that I wanted to highlight for you:

1. You cannot walk out values that you cannot name.
This may sound obvious, but it’s true. If you were to look over a list of values, you’d probably highlight a dozen or more that resonate with you. Awesome! But could you narrow that down to just a few truly core values?

There are many, many values that matter to me. Such as generosity, curiosity, gusto, community, transparency, optimism, grit, faith, integrity…

But only two of those can truly guide my decisions, actions, and behaviors.

2. You only have one set of values.
You don’t have a set of values at work and another set of values at home. Who you are is who you are — and you bring your whole self to everything you do.

3. You must take your values from BS to Behavior.
Perhaps you’ve seen this diagram before:

Sweet Spot of Values and Time

The values that matter to you MUST be manifest in your time and energy. And, believe it or not, it’s a fight to live in that sweet spot.

I label that overlap as being “rare” for a reason: many people simply don’t live into their values.

How to Define Your Values

Have you ever been to a seminar or something where they say they’re going to help you write your life vision?

They start by handing out a blank piece of paper and a number 2 pencil.

Then they say: “Now… write down your life vision.”

Wait! What?

Talk about fear of the blank page! How are you supposed to craft what is arguably one of the most important sentences of your existence from scratch? Especially while sitting under those florescent lights and just after having eaten a sub-par bagel.

But fear not!

Yep. Within the Focus Course, there is a section where I walk you through what I honestly think is the best process on the planet for defining your values and drafting your life vision.

Earlier this year when I hosted our Live workshop here in Kansas City, it was magical to watch people as they would get it. When one lady shared her life vision with the room, it was a profound and moving moment.

Why do values matter?

Because they are the principles and standards that guide your decisions and behavior.

To get clear on what truly matters to you, I hope you will allow me to walk you through the simple and approachable process that we’ve developed.

As Brené writes in her book, you have to take your values and walk them out.

Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk — we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.

That is what the entire second half of The Focus Course is all about. I help you take your values and use them to craft your ideal week.

Getting you into that “Rare Sweet Spot” — where you are walking the talk — is one of the chief aims of The Focus Course.


Oh, and curious what it was that I taught to those leaders regarding Time Management? I’ve already given you a big clue in this article. I’ll tell you the rest in the next one tomorrow.

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