For the last three years, Kylie and I have been traveling the world, training groups on how to be great organizations. We always start with a conversation about values. Values help determine your mission. They are the heart behind your emotions. Values are the great motivator for people and the lives they long to lead.
Throughout the years, we have seen how challenging it can be for people to truly understand their values. Most people want to start with “Truth” as a value, because they hate when other people lie to them. But those same people will admit they sometimes fudge the truth themselves if another value – say, harmony – is at stake.
When we talk about values, we ask people to walk themselves through The Five Whys. The idea is to ask “why” at least five times to get deeper and deeper into your reasoning/motivation.
As we’ve seen people journey through The Five Whys, we have started to notice two values that are, in some way or another, prevalent in every human life and organization.
The first universal value is safety. We need a baseline of security in order to accomplish anything with our lives. A lot of people get stuck in the rabbit hole of wealth, social media, and power dynamics because they want to feel safe. We seek comfort as a mechanism for feeling secure. We try to control our circumstances in order to eliminate exposure to risk.
Much of what we do is to try to establish, reinforce, or fix this foundation of safety.
If you are in a relationship or a business, you have probably experienced a lot of conflict when two separate parties are each trying to feel as safe as possible. We want our way. We want people to like us. We need care and affirmation. We need to belong. All of this boils down to a base value for security and every human on the planet feels this to one degree or another.