Defining Moments

September 2004

This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call defining moments: an opportunity that life presents us to give voice to our values, define our beliefs, or act in congruence with who we really are as a person. Your business has defining moments every day. A defining moment is an opportunity to express, in any number of different ways, what your business stands for. Defining moments for companies can range from simple, quotidian contacts with customers (how the telephone is answered; the quality of your business cards; the design of your company logo) to “in-house” matters (how you treat your employees; criteria for performance reviews; modeling your company’s core principles) to decisions that impact not only the company, but the community (who your company endorses for political office; how you enforce environmental regulations; whether or not you host a blood drive). We express our values and our beliefs in almost everything we do, and thus we must be attentive to even what may seem to be trivial aspects of our dealings with others.

One of the journeys that almost every coaching client of mine embarks on sooner or later is defining what they believe in, and what they stand for. Until we really unpack our beliefs and examine honestly why we hold those beliefs, we are vulnerable to being swept along by the next “good idea” or persuasive argument or hot trend. When we know what we stand for, and why, we become more open to seeing other perspectives and hearing other viewpoints. It gives us a freedom that those who don’t know themselves, or their businesses, do not have.

Have you taken the time to truly articulate what you believe in, and what you and your company stand for? How are you responding to defining moments in your life and work? I hope that you experience defining moments as a crucible for reaffirming, clarifying, and strengthening what you truly value. If I can support you in this process, please let me know.

Sharon Keys Seal

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