A couple months back, my daughter and I were in a conversation that was centered on a few future life choices she was considering. Lots of details from her. Lots of thinking. A fair amount of worry too.

As her Dad, I was really looking for a principle to share with her. Because, I could see that there was not one perfect choice, something that is often harder for young people to understand. And because I could hear that she was choosing between many good things.

The principle I chose to share with her was this — whatever you choose to do, do it well. Whatever you choose to do, do it with kindness, consciousness, and a feeling of flow with Life itself. It’s a principle I find grounding for myself. I was hoping it might be useful to my daughter in her circumstance.

I went on.

Kindness with yourself, with others, and with your circumstance.

Consciousness as in awake enough, aware enough, and with attentiveness to the bigger picture.

Flow with Life as in not assuming that all is within her control. Sometimes, it is going with. Sometimes it surrendering to life’s Flow rather than planning every edge.

I’m glad to say these landed and helped my daughter. She didn’t need more analysis of every possible scenario. She needed a principle or a value to inform and guide what she was feeling.

Principles matter in leadership. Values too. People know this. But what many of us often forget in the midst of patching holes and putting out fires is the principle that centers purpose.

In a recent conversation with a leader I know, we had a similar conversation. I asked if there was a particular principle or value that he relies upon to guide the feeling of the work. We found it together — Whatever you do, do it with dignity. That and, become an expert at the basics.

So, nothing particularly new in these statements. What is important, however, is recalling people to a value and the feeling of that value. It goes a long way to shaping and creating culture to hold many of us in what we care about doing and accomplishing.

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