Influenced by Faith: 6 Values I Strive to Live By at Work

My values for work and my work ethic have been influenced by many,

some through direct experience and demonstration by great and horrible bosses, and others through minds in books: Ernest Hemingway on the attractiveness and persuasiveness of brevity; Ray Dalio on embracing the natural bents, strengths, and weaknesses of others, Shane Parrish on the many mental models I could employ to make smarter decisions, and Marcus Aurelius’ father on how to treat your co-workers, to name a few.

I give credit to the Bible for most of the underlying values in work I’ve cultivated in my professional life; They are things I strive to abide by and commit to at the age of 28.


Here are some lessons I learned from the Bible on how to live as a Christian in work:


Rest and relaxation must become a familiar presence in your life. 

Having work physically, emotionally and mentally consume one’s life and identity is against the character of a Christian life.

As a Christian, participating in the Sabbath is an act of obedience, a reminder for me that I am not a slave beholden to my work (“How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12)), and a demonstration that I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I say I believe God is sovereign, at the center of my life and my purpose for being.

It’s also an healthy act of rest: to rejuvenate, restore, and re-center myself in the things that matter most to me in life.

So, we keep the Sabbath. (Deuteronomy 5:12-14):


Listen and actively seek and embrace guidance and counsel from others.

Be humble and open minded in the counsel and feedback of others.

Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 11:14: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

Proverbs 24:6 on being a wise and successful king: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”.

What these verses do not imply is to accept the guidance of anyone, or to always embrace the guidance of close counsel. They simply state the value of taking into deep consideration the counsel of one’s advisors. Who do you see as an advisor in your life? Hopefully someone close, who reflects principles and values you respect, and someone you trust and respect.

Despite demonstrated differences in values, principles, and/or opinion, have respect for and be respectful of placed authority.

It is important to show a level of respect to those placed in specific positions as they have been “elected” and placed there by people, whether it be by the board of your company, or by your nation’s people. (Romans 13)

While I struggle with showing deep admiration for someone when his/her principles are at odds with mine, regardless of position, I learned that is different from being able to show thoughtfulness and respect for the dignity and position of another.

Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street, has also savvily quipped once: “you can disagree without saying anything.”


Engage in and pursue work that has purpose and meaning.

Being involved in work that is “beneficial,” “constructive,” or benefiting the “good of others” is in close character with Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:23


Celebrate and compliment your colleagues’ strengths and accomplishments. Mentor your juniors; actively give credit to them.

Lift up your peers [hype them] when there is any true opportunity to do so. BUT avoid flattery.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:18)
“For there is no truth in their mouth…. their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” ( Psalm 5:9)

Bises,

Soo

Notes on Conscious Leadership ft. Bob Iger and Jim Dethmer

Notes from a podcast interviewing Robert Iger

While I respect Iger’s mind, the podcast was not strong (felt the interviewer was ill prepared and the conversation was not original, so not leaving much here from what I listened to and will not leave link)

Be generous and efficient
Have great teachers
Never, ever complain about work
Iger worked 30 years with the top bosses and mentors
“You must be in the business of changing with or ahead of the times”

Notes from Shane Parrish’s Farnam Street’s Knowledge Project Podcast Episode 60 ft. Jim Dethmer (coach, speaker, author, and founding partner of The Conscious Leadership Group)

Fantastico. First 20 minutes are a lot of common sense, and then for the rest of the podcast, Dethmer proceeds to unpack familiar concepts with great originality of reasoning – conversations that really excited and inspired me! Such a thought provoking man and highly recommend you listen to the actual podcast recording.
State of Beings (Always operate out of a place of love and play over fear, rage, anger, guilt, or shame):
Being “above the line” vs “below the line”
Above the Line: Open, curious, trusting, open to learning, presence of candor
Below the line: Contracted. Curtness came from contraction. Contracted living can lead to self-criticism, which will probably lead to even more curtness. Defensiveness, Being in a state of threat, attached to proving you are right.
Acting below the line can lead to short term desired outcomes/results, but will leave toxic residue.
Can I accept myself for being where I am? (Acting out from below or above the line)
  • Acting out from below or above the line.
  • Can I accept myself for being reactive?
  • Order of states: acceptance follows awareness
    • Self-awareness in his words: creating a feedback rich environment/ or developing feedback rich tools for self-reflections
      • ‘If you are constantly getting feedback you are on a rocket-ship to self-awareness
    • Constructive Self-acceptance
      • Susan’s view: Centering on God’s delight in you, regardless of your state of being, mistakes, or how you acted. That you can accept and just strive to be better.
      • Dethmer’s view: Being present with “I am okay just the way I am” Kill the belief that something at the core is missing.
On Motivations
Purpose/Calling: 1st level of motivation that doesn’t lead to toxic residue
  • Jim Dethmer calls this level the “zone of genius” – what it is that lights me up to do in the world
Play: 2nd level of motivation
  • When work can start to lookalike play
    • Ex.) Dethmer’s: “When I am coding, it is like a child at play. I love it.”
    • Ex.) Susan’s “When I am designing or making new products, it is like a child at play. I love it. When I’m creating or solving something challenging, I get a huge adrenaline rush.”
  • The sooner you return to PLAY, the better for best leadership or results or work
Love: highest level/form of motivation
  • the love of the thing
    • Ex.) Dethmer’s “I LOVE LANDSCAPING!!”
    • Ex.) Susan’s “I LOVE MY CUSTOMERS I LOVE SEEING ATEM IN MORE PLACES I LOVE PEOPLE GETTING HAPPIER FROM ATEM AND COMING BACK FOR MORE!”
Teams of the future must be motivated by intrinsic rewards, play and love. However, so many people are motivated from desiring approval (Susan: this was me until 2016!! and I decided to start fighting it!)
  • On desiring approval: “The core of this motivation too lies in fear”
At 36 minutes:
On Integrity in Work/Leadership/Relationship to Others and Yourself
“There’s no such thing as a small breach of integrity” – Jim Dethmer
Reconsidering the term “AGREEMENTS”
  • Definition: agreeing with oneself or with 2 people+ to do something.
  • What does it mean to make clear agreements (commitments)?
    • Agreements need to be incredibly clear.
      • Not, let’s plan to meet around noon/in the morning, but let’s meet at x at y for z and we’ll do r, t, and c.
        • Who, what, when
  • Only make agreements you have a whole bodied agreement to
    • Wholebodied agreements: When it’s a yes from you in mind, body, and heart.
    • If you don’t do this, you make agreements you don’t want to make
      • This includes little details even with things like times that are less convenient for you. Either be whole bodied agreeing in compromise, or say “if we could do it at 7:30 that would be better for me”.
  • Most organizations keep between 40-60% of agreements
Broken agreements are a broach in integrity
Integrity is about my agreements
  • How impeccable I am about making and keeping my agreements
  • How impeccable I am about renegotiating agreements before I break them OR if I break them, cleaning them up
    • If you break an agreement, immediately acting: “Before we go on I want to say sorry for being xyzzy. I was to see if there is anything I can do to make it up for you.”
    • Taking acts of responsibility is the commodity of trust.
  • High integrity people will meet this 90% of the time
On Having a Victim Mentality
Do you live by a victim mentality or a creator mentality?
Victim Mentality: Is this happening to you?
Creator Mentality: Is this happening by you?
At 1 hour , 11 minutes:
On Improving EQ
Step 1. Decide if you are willing to improve your emotional intelligence
Step 2. One must be emotionally literate before one is emotionally intelligent
  • Being emotionally literate: Capable of knowing what you yourself are feeling, when you are feeling it. (Susan: I struggle with this, and naming my feelings and the why in the “present”).
    • Something people often do, thinking it’s their feeling “I feel you are wrong” “I feel overwhelmed” – A thought followed by a feeling is not a feeling.
Step 3. Can I feel my feelings?
  • Dethmer: Statistics support that feelings last less than 90 seconds if one doesn’t feed the feelings.
Creating a Feedback Rich Environment
  • Identify your feedback filters
    1. This person needs to give me feedback by this deadline, I need experts in the subject matter, this person isn’t smart enough” etc etc
    2. Dethmer: your state of mind should be about “I want feedback given any day, any time, by anybody
  • Being thoughtful about your feedback filters and being conscious about which ones you want or decide to keep
  • When asking for feedback, ensure the other person if they are concerned abut reputation or junior; “don’t worry about being right, constructive, or giving actionable feedback” “Anything I did less than 10, tell me what I can do better.” “Anything I did better than 1, tell me what I can do better.”
    • Susan: Things I can do: Ask family “What is one thing I can do to be a better sister?” “What is one thing I can do to be a better daughter?”
  • When receiving or getting feedback, always, ALWAYS ASK: “How is their feedback about me true about me? (Feedback is based off their projection of you or your work, but how is it true?
  • When you give feedback or give out a projection of another, take that feedback of yourself in and see how it is true about you.

Reflections on Entropy

“In short, we can define entropy as a measure of the disorder of the universe, on both a macro and a microscopic level. The Greek root of the word translates to “a turning towards transformation” — with that transformation being chaos.
As you read this article, entropy is all around you. Cells within your body are dying and degrading, an employee or coworker is making a mistake, the floor is getting dusty, and the heat from your coffee is spreading out. Zoom out a little, and businesses are failing, crimes and revolutions are occurring, and relationships are ending. Zoom out a lot further and we see the entire universe marching towards a collapse.”
– Shane Parrish

A couple nights ago, I read a great article called Battling Entropy: Making Order of the Chaos  in our lives. Writer and thinker Shane Parrish writes on what that means and the full ramifications of it in our world.

I find myself revisiting it today as a morning exercise of sorts and applying it to some current situations in my life.

  • Taking this mental rule and understanding that everything in their natural order falls apart, not together, and that I must understand that absolutely:
  • Understanding that really does give one peace and direction.

It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being pragmatic. When you search and connect with the reality of how the world really works you are also better prepared and expecting.

REFLECTIONS

PROFESSIONAL

At age 26 and as an entrepreneur, I’m still worrying about how I will be financially independent in the sustainable sense for the long game. Do I keep doing what my heart tells me to do, or do I one day make the decision to choose a stable job that affords me compound savings at an office job?

I am saving pennies on the dollar now, and I can be saving dollars and mucho moola on the dollar if I worked in something else.

I understand that without considerably added effort as an entrepreneur and with good fortune, this will only lead to entropy (in financial resources, in personal and time capital, etc.), so I need to set firm guidelines for myself, for how long I am taking this passion project for the ride and what milestones or goals I will set it against in order to validate sustaining my efforts in it.

HEALTH

At age 26, I have osteoporosis. That has resulted in me getting foot pain or fractures regularly, and I’ve also had to retire from many sports and activities that I never expected to have retired from at this age.

It’s frustrating, but I understand it’s just an early realization for me on my part that this body will only continue to degenerate as you age. There will be arthritis, there will be osteoporosis, there might be some disease, and you will most certainly start losing collagen & elasticity and develop fine lines on your forehead in your twenties. However, this does not mean I should just rest. Resting only encourages more entropy.  To keep the body sharp is to keep the mind sharp is to keep the life sharp.

Sharp as a well made kitchen knife. Mhm.

Whatever effort humans put into regenerating the body is an effort of pure science, bullish effort, and going against nature. It’s quite impressive, thinking of all of it actually.

SOCIAL

From age 18 to my early 20s, I had the tendency to not want to create deep, personal relationships. For me, what I had was enough, and the immense effort required to sustain human relationships with often very irrational people just seemed like such a high cost for me, and I didn’t want to put the effort in. It was better I thought to invest in my work, my passions, and myself. Engage with others, but keep a distance. Don’t get too close. At least introspection with the self was certain to result in some kind of fruit. This was a shortsight, as I realize now that forming and working really hard to maintain authentic relationships with people are one of the greatest investments I can make in my life. Human relationships counteract all forms of entropy: mental, emotional, professional, etc.

For those having trouble with developing relationships, or with little interest in developing any: Yes, people can disappoint you, yes they might not be the most intellectually stimulating people in the world, yes, they can be unreliable, but so am I, and so are you. And I’d still like to say I’m worth the effort and worth getting to know. There are fruits to be seen and revealed, through me, by you or some other person who enters my life. So I guess I’d apply the same for you.

“The energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.”
– Rudolf Clausius

FAMILY

I’ve experienced entropy at its max in this category. I’ve grown up out of a very troubled home, and what was considered “family” was breaking down at a Nitro rollercoaster steep rate from my middle school years. I saw what happens when there is no effort put in, or when the only effort put into the family unit encourages further dissolution and entropy.

However, through this experience, I’ve also seen what incredible things can happen in the re-building if you seek to counteract entropy. It requires double, no triple, the effort.

So why not make the effort in the first place.

My experience has brought my current family closer and we are more vigilant as a family in some ways. We are exceedingly careful to not say or do some things that would harm our relationship with the other. There is a foundational, rigid, understanding of what we must not do or entertain in our current romantic relationships and for our future relationships. And we’re aggressive with building, building, building. Building new ways and systems to affirm one another, to show we appreciate one another, to show we love one another.

“Truly understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.”
Shane Parrish

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

With my romantic relationships I tend to take a one man stance. Considering 1. my subscription to this idea of chaos and disorder naturally developing (emphasis on natural order) as time goes on in every aspect of our lives and our world and 2. all I know about myself and my emotional and physical capacity as a human-woman, I just don’t think I can go on living life attaching myself to and emotionally engaging with more than one romantic interest at a given time.  If the aim is to build and not to break-down, the effort involved in romantic relationships cannot be optional, but required. I believe this effort should begin at earlier stages of getting to know someone, not when there is a “are we…” talk. Getting to know someone at my convenience only, or not showing I care when I don’t really care at the early stage of a relationship is possible– my every right– and also comfortable, but in the end what does that lead to? What can all that lead to? There’s the chance that you might fall in love and I have seen many friends who are in wonderful, wholesome relationships which resulted from a start of the more casual or poly- sort. But it entertains a whole lot more chance. And I guess this all goes down to who I am as a person again. I don’t care for welcoming chance.