How to Make Your Principles Work for You
December 22, 2020 at 8:00 AM
by Jonah Larkin

Last week I discussed how to identify your principles from lessons you learned over the last year.

Now I want to show you how I plan to put the principles that I've learned into action.  

Because without action, what good is a principle?

I'll use myself as an example and you can follow along with your own.

A quick review of the principles I came up with from reviewing my year.

Let's focus on my first principle: I ask for help even when I think I might not need it. (I changed it from last week to be a little more nuanced.)

For this to be a living principle you have to do something with it, and ideally you want to be able to test it.

Testing it allows you to see if the principle you've described works and if it needs any adjustment to make it more accurate.  

You should fully expect your principles to evolve over time and become more and more nuanced, accurate and concise.

In order to test the principle, I need to understand under what circumstances it should be applied. 

1. Brainstorm situations in which it might apply

  • Embarking on a new project or section of larger project
  • Learning something new (like how to play the djembe.)
  • When I run into problems in one of my relationships
  • When I'm feeling confused, sad or hopeless
  • When I'm cultivating new clients
  • When I'm not feeling confident about how to move forward
  • When I'm sick or injured
  • When I want to travel somewhere and don't yet have a place to stay

Take a few minutes right now and write down under what circumstances your principle could apply.

2. Create a file on your computer

  • Create a file on google docs, Evernote or word where you can record your principle and write down when it might apply.  I use Evernote.

3. Refer to your principles at least once per week

I usually go over my work week at the end of my week to help me identify what's working, what's not, and where I might want to make some changes, if any.

This is a great time to refer to my principles and ask myself, "Where can I ask for help even though I think I might not need it?"

Then the next week I can track and see what the result is of any actions I may or may not have taken.

In my opinion your principles aren't something rigid to be stuck to no matter what, but rather are living breathing concepts that you can refer to when you need help.

That way you they can serve you as you grow and change over time.