My Unifying Principles

My Unifying Principles That I Originally Typed In 1984

Motivational tapes were a good choice.

When my company was new, I spent many hours driving the Carolina highways in my 1980 grey business sedan. The only luxury in my car was a cassette player so I listened to motivational tapes.

One tape introduced me to Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues. Ben’s virtues spoke to me in such a way that I wanted to create my own.

I kept these written principles in my Day-Timer and always had them with me – focusing on one of the 19 each day. With coffee in the early pre-dawn morning, I would meditate on one chosen principle – returning to it often during the day.

I could have rewritten these principles, but this is the language I used 30 years ago and it says what I was thinking back then, so l left them alone.

As I look at the order of my principles today, I see that while the business was consuming all of my energy back then, it did not appear in the line-up until the eighth spot. I must have realized that my family needed to be solid for the business to have value. I knew that my wife needed to be consulted and be a full partner in what I was doing.

I also knew that much of the reason for leaving the corporate world and starting my own business was to spend more time with our children.

Shortly into using My Unifying Principles I became aware of the effects financial pressure was having on my moods. I added a principle to not let that pressure show in my daily interactions with others.

One omission was not including “delaying gratification” in My Unifying Principles. The ability to delay gratification is critical for all new business owners. I should have added it – bad choice not to write it in, but I practiced it continually – delaying personal gratification saved us often when times got hard. It made our growth possible plus it enabled the life we enjoy today.

The final principle says it all. “Have fun and smile easily; be honest with myself.”

These are mine. What guidelines do you have to govern your decisions? What principles do you use to order your personal and work life?

As always, the conversation starts here