A couple of days ago, I was telling my wife that I think people should start living their lives like a purpose driven brand. Purpose brands are essentially brands that have got a reason for existing beyond making money. To make a difference people need to be more intentional and have a purpose. Google came up with the vision “providing access to the world’s information in one click.” Not many of its products today were conceived then.

One of the “ten things” the tech giant holds dear is that “you don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.” These were written a few years after Google was formed. Their products including Google maps are making a much-desired difference in the world today.

To think and act like a purpose driven brand, you cannot be self-seeking. And the values you hold dear will play a huge role in the decisions you make or how you go about living your life. Core values are the emotional commitments you make during moments of challenges or opportunities. Where you have to respond by finding the resources you actually value.

For example, let’s say there’s a campaign trending on social media about gender inequality. And a guy takes to the social space becoming so vocal, posting punchlines in favour of the woman. He gets all the retweets, likes and follows in response. Few months later, his father passes on. Being the only male child, and as the culture permits, he forbids his female siblings from taking part in his father’s inheritance. This guy was not really interested in equality. What actually drives him is his quest for relevance and material wealth which will erode any previous position he takes.  

What are your core values? They are the meaning you attach to the people, objects and experiences you engage with. And the language of values is emotions because it is about the why we act in a certain way and not much about how. Have you got any values? Are you thinking about it? I hope you are thinking about it.

I’m compelled to share another example. Think about a lady or a gentleman; also, very vocal in the social media space. Not a single day passes without making reference to their perception of failed leadership in a country. A review of his/her timeline would suggest to a foreigner that this person is a political activist. That they care about the state of the country. That they are holding the current leadership of the country accountable. Justice, transparency, fairness and unity are amongst the many words they throw around.

But this same lady or gentleman goes quiet when a close ally, associate or relative is found wanting in exactly the areas they ruthlessly judge the current opposition.  He/she is not really interested in justice, fairness and transparency and a progressive country. Quest for affluence, being close to the corridors of power or being in power is what drives them. If a visitor from the future visited and told them that their activism will come to naught, they will discontinue their crusade and reconsider their position; in a classic survival mode they could even switch allegiance.

Recently, I realized why I sometimes get emotional or very angry when I see people treat others with contempt or completely disregard others. I have come to realise that one of the values I hold dear is equity. Paying a fair wage, treating people with respect; the way you would like to be treated.

That is why I would take into consideration the location of a handyman before paying his wage for instance.

I ask again, what are your personal values? How will you align your values with your work and life? This is your time to reflect alone in your privacy. Once you can align your set of values with what you do, then that’s what Marshall Ganz of the Harvard Kennedy School calls is your calling. Is your calling worthy of making a difference or real impact?

Imagine majority of the men from that “women equality” fighter’s community start treating women equally where they also earn fair or even equal inheritance. Imagine a time when regardless of political affiliation or family ties, activists hold everyone accountable. Won’t that make a difference in the world we live in today?

Values matter and they will continue to guide the decisions we make.  What are yours?

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