Mother Teresa, and Values

Values - Love or MoneyRecently I was enjoying a virtual chat with one of my online groups about people we knew were successful but we didn’t like very much. One is a Big Name in the world of personal development, the other a Best-Selling Musician with decades of top-of-the-charts success behind him. What we were able to do was decide it was his inspiration we wanted, not to become his friend. And the other chap’s music we wanted to enjoy, without judging the man per se.

However, increasingly this doesn’t sit comfortably with all of us. And as one of my esteemed colleagues pointed out, she chooses now to work only with people she resonates with and I whole-heartedly endorse her decision.

You know how it is…there are people I follow on Twitter who have an off day and express a dodgy opinion, revealing too much (or too little) about themselves and at some subliminal level I notice and I let it pass.

But then it starts to build up a bit. At this point I might decide to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially if I’ve spoken to them in real life and so I decide to let their ill-advised, somewhat snidey tweets glide past me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the bitching about TV wannabes that cruelty can sometimes slip in, that stalwart of British humour.

And then finally I reach a point where enough is enough, I have to unfollow because the person you are showing up to be in my world is – well, nasty. I don’t care how successful you are. Or how funny.

My friends, who think they live in a more real version of the Real World than I do, they tell me I am away with the fairies and that I live in a pink bubble where everyone is nice to one another. But I think it’s about values. I expect you to show up on time. I expect you to be reliable. I want you to be upbeat, focus on the good stuff. By all means let off steam about someone who’s p***** you off, but ultimately I have to be sure that you are either someone who loves that person really or someone who is prepared to ex-communicate them from your life, stop moaning and move on. I have work to do in this area myself; I teach what I most need to learn.

So is the opposite of nasty nice? I don’t think so. Although it was ingrained in me when I was growing up during the Fifties and Sixties that girls had to be nice and that we had to go along to get along, being nice has got me into more trouble than the few times I’ve slipped into nasty.

So what would be better to aspire to than being nasty, and which qualities lead to us being successful in business? Those which others find attractive so that they want to tell the world about us and which clients want more of in their lives. Which qualities would those be, for you?

For me they would include gentle, good, gracious and kind, which conjures up a Jane Austen heroine. So let’s throw in a few 21st century ones for good measure, funny, funky, cool and geeky. And some good old standards – measured, efficient, honest, bright and well-intentioned. Somewhere in there is the paragon of virtue I aspire to be most of the time. We’re all human!

We’re not all 100% good, that’s for sure.  Is that even desirable? Watching talking about setting up STEM schools (science, technology, engineering and maths) mainly for girls and mainly in ghettos, I wasn’t confused into thinking he was a god-like creature, just that he’s diverting, talented and philanthropic. And he seems to have persuaded us that we want to make him an honorary Brit, for now. When I have his money, I hope I will find such good uses for a cool half million here and there. But overall, he seems like a force for good.

And I can think of loads of other examples. Not everyone, for instance, thought that Mother Teresa’s way was the right one and yet she is widely regarded as a saint. Did she do what she thought was right? I think so although I am not a student of her work. Would I go about it the same way? Probably not.

Can you do good in this world through your business – and just by being – without the profile of or Mother Teresa? I believe so.

So, today, let’s pick three words to describe how we want to want to show up in our work and in our lives. Pause, while you look out of the window or at something else inspirational… and work out what your values are. For me, just for today, I am going to pick:

  • Abundance
  • Stillness
  • Gratitude

What three values do you pick for yourself today?


This article first appeared in my weekly newsletter dated 16th May 2014. If you’d like to read more like this, pop your email address in that box over there at the top of the right-hand margin and you’ll receive some more written inspirations every Friday. You’ll also be entered into a monthly free prize draw to win a Skype consultation with me where we can talk about you, your business, your money and your life and make plans to change or improve any area you like.

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