Values – “I will lead others based on the values I embrace.”

Written on January 29, 2023 – 10:16am   Published January 31, 2023  5:15am

When I was around 25, I read what would be one of the most life-changing important books:  THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey.  32 years later, I still own the copy of the book and I also have an audiobook.  I cannot recommend it enough!

What are principles?

For Covey, principles are self-evident and—as part of most traditions and philosophies over the ages—they’ve been woven into the fabric of societies throughout human history. They often concern human behavior and govern interactions between people.

Principles represent an objective reality that transcends cultures and individuals. For example, Covey cites various principles, including fairness, integrity, and honesty. He declared, “A principle is a natural law like gravity. If you drop something, gravity controls. If I don’t tell you the truth, you won’t trust me; that’s a natural law.”

There are certain principles that transcend cultural differences and do not change over time. They determine the ultimate outcomes or consequences of behavior and actions, as much as gravity determines that something will fall when dropped.

What are values?

In contrast, values are beliefs and opinions that people hold regarding specific issues or ideas, and are ultimately internal, subjective, and malleable. They may change as demands or needs change. If a given belief or opinion is something that might be altered if the conditions are right, then it’s a value.

Values are important in expressing our individual beliefs and opinions, and they can be used tactically to accomplish certain objectives based on our current circumstances, demands, and needs. Values can ultimately reflect or determine the current but potentially alterable goals that we have in our professional, family, and personal life.  – From Plan Plus Online

For this article / outline of Chapter 11:  VALUES, I am going to change what Dr. Maxwell focused on (values) to principles.  What are your principles?  What are your “natural laws?”  I do LOVE Dr. Covey’s list that includes, fairness, integrity, and honesty.  WHO DOESN’T LOVE THOSE PRINCIPLES?  When I teach middle school or high school students leadership, I explain to them principles are what is important when you are your age (middle school – high school) to the day you die.  We then brainstorm what those principles are.

We can only give what we have.  You need to set-up you “Life Principles” and live them / share them with others.  Therefore, you need to make the decision Dr. Maxwell and Dr. Covey made I will lead others based on the values (again, I will use ‘principles’) I embrace.

Now, be careful.  Don’t beat yourself up when you ‘slip.’  You and I are not perfect.  Maybe one of your principles needs to be – forgiveness.  We are not going to be perfect.  We strive for perfection and we tolerate excellence.  The list of “Life Principles” you create is the foundation / ‘moral compass’ / the guide to living a complete life.  A life of integrity.  Dr. Maxwell uses the phrase, “To develop my potential to be the best of my ability.”  At the end of the day, give yourself peace of mind that you did your best.  You ask that from others around you.  You need to ask yourself for the same result (best of my ability).

As the title of Dr. Maxwell’s book states, “MAKE TODAY COUNT,” you need to make the decision to embrace and practice good values (principles) daily.  Here are some of the suggestions:  Create a List of Good Values (Principles), Embrace Those Good Values (Principles), and Make a Decision to Live Those Values (Principles) Daily.  Well, let’s focus on what I consider to be the obvious first step:  Create a List of Good Values.

Here is a list (including, not limited to…) and let me again say, I will fall short of this list.  Falling short is HUMAN.  And, yes, when you fall short, you are going to have people who ridicule you and hurt you.  When those hurtful people hurt you and you need to work with them, embrace your values / principles and use your values / principles.  VERY TOUGH TO DO!

  • Fairness
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Courage

Now, that you have a list, you need to manage the discipline of that list!  Here are some guidelines to improve managing your list:

  • Articulate and Embrace Your Values (principles) Daily 
  • Compare Your Values (principles) to Your Practices Daily 
  • Live Out Your Values (principles) Regardless of Your Feelings
  • Evaluate Each Day in Light of Your Values (principles) 

From Dr. Maxwell:  Most people take very lite time to do any reflective thinking, yet that is necessary for anyone who wants to live out his /her values (principles) with consistency.  Ben Franklin used to get up in the morning asking himself, “What good will I do today?”  When he went to be, he asked himself, “What good did I to today?”  He was evaluating himself in light of one of his values (principles).   

This is one of the most important chapters in the book.  You need to be the person you want to be.  As of January 29, 2023, we – Americans – have the choice of who we want to be.  That is a lot of responsibility!  I LOVE THAT RESPONSIBILITY.  IT IS AMERICAN!!  Write down you want to be and start being that person.  I am 57 years old!  I am doing all I can to finish strong.  As Dr. Covey says, “Begin with the End in Mind.”  It’s not when you start!  It’s how you finish.  And one more time – BE KIND TO YOURSELF!!  Listen to yourself talk!  Say kind things to yourself.  Acknowledge when you make a mistake in a kind way.  Do your best to your ability to live out YOUR principles and in some people’s cases, GOD’s principles.  You nor I should be saying, “Do your best.”  Doing your best is a given.  So, MAKE TODAY COUNT by doing your best.


If you would like to have a great experience sharing material similar to what was shared in this article, contact me at  I am strong at leading presentations to both the private and public sectors.  Selfishly — I want to give you a great experience because then, I will have a great experience.  It’s called a “hug.”  Hope to hear from you soon.

Values / Principles

Dr. Covey’s Book
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: 30th Anniversary Edition (The Covey Habits Series): Covey, Stephen R., Collins, Jim, Covey, Sean: 9781982137274: Books

Dr. Maxwell’s Book