"Values are what make us who we are. They are the compass guiding everything we do – our choices and our actions. When we forget that compass, we take the wrong turn. It’s the same for our families, for our communities, for the world."
I was at a workshop this morning with the aim of learning more about social media & bettering my business... The workshop was run by Google Digital Garage at Society 1 in Preston.
During the workshop World Values Day was mentioned...I'ts today if you're wondering. It got me thinking, as a business owner what are my core values?
This is probably a task people do way before starting a business but the truth is I was just a girl with a camera and passion to produce awesome photos who has been catapulted into the world of business at break neck speed!
I know in my own head I aim to run my business in a certain way but I've never actually sat down and thought about the core values that underpin every choice I make. I suppose everything I do just comes naturally so I've never felt the need to define this type of stuff.
If you follow me on any social media then you'll know that the thing I value most is you. I harp on all the time about how I appreciate every single person that supports my business. Because without you I would still be doing the job that drained my happiness.
After leaving the workshop today and mooching around Tiger for half an hour I had a lightbulb moment... Our values are mirrored.
Yup... You and me and pretty similar you know.
Let's rewind to last week.
I'd had an influx of new followers and I hate being all "Hey I am Sarah, I like to spend 83 hours a week on Pinterest and my favourite colour is grey…"
I expected them to list things about me… Observations they'd made about things I deem important plus stuff I liked such as Flamingos. Family. Friends. Cats. Cake. Listening to the sea on my favourite beach at sunset... That kind of stuff.
What actually happened was something I didn't expect… not in a million years.
I'd not posted because I was fishing for compliments (although my head was huge by the end of the day) I'd posted because I'm terrible at talking about myself.
"The easiest person to get along with ever"
"You make me feel at ease when I'm highly strung"
"Positive, Funny & Warmhearted"
"One of the best humans on the planet"
"You felt more like a guest than a photographer"
"Strong, Inspiring and Unstoppable"
I now realise after so many amazing comments that You value me too!… you not only place value on the service I offer but also on me as a person which is bloody lovely.
I've spent the day looking at myself and my business to help me define my core values as a spin off from the workshop... Both personally & within my business.
Apparently this will help with business growth and make me super successful, so going forward I've decided I'm not going to change a damn thing.
My core values...
Family : My family aren't just the people I have blood connections with, they are also my friends. These people have helped shape me as a person. There's nothing I love more than a big social gathering with the people I love the most.
Happiness : Growing up I always set goals... I will be happy when XYZ happens. I wasted about 34 years living with this mentality. Happiness is a mental state. No matter what shit is hitting the fan or what my daily whinge is about I always ask myself... 'But am I happy?' If the answer is yes then I crack on with life and if I answer no then I find out the route of my unhappiness and make changes.
Mindfulness : This is something I have practiced in recent years. Being the Mum to a child with additional needs has meant I have experienced situations beyond a lot of peoples comprehension. These experiences have helped me to realise just how my own words & actions have a ripple effect in the world. My intention is to always try and make those ripples as positive as possible. Its also taught me to chuck a lot more stuff than I was doing into the fuck it bucket.
My business core values...
Authenticity : Authenticity doesn't go out of fashion. I'm not that photographer thats going to take your money and just give you some photographs. I'm as invested in you as you are in me from day one.
Commitment : I only take on a set amount of weddings per year! 25 is that number. Only taking on these 25 bookings per year enables me to give an amazing experience to everyone. I don't want to spread myself too thin because an overworked, stressed Sarah is no good to anyone!
Fun : You've got to make a lot of serious decisions when it comes to wedding planning, for me personally too much serious crushes the soul. You're getting married. You're marrying your soul mate. Saying those vows is serious enough... all the other aspects of your day should have an injection of fun including your photography!
My formula for life and my business model isn't a pre-mediated one. It's honest and real. I might not have spreadsheets and strategies coming out of my ears but thats ok because I am happy just being me and thats perfectly imperfect.