Dec 29, 2023

New Year. New Opening: Using Values to Improve Your Leadership

“Make it stop!” I shrieked at Spotify. I don’t even know what the ad was for, but the phrase “New Year. New You.” came through my airpods, and your girl lost it.

New Year. New You. What a load of tripe.

It’s just a tiny bit insulting, isn’t it…the “new year, new you” phrasing. As if the current you is so unworthy, you have to be someone entirely different to deserve a new opportunity.

So today, barely 32 hours into 2024, I want you to know you don’t need to be someone different. Hear me loud and clear: YOU DO NOT NEED TO HUSTLE FOR YOUR WORTH.

Let me offer you a different story: New Year. New Opening.

(It doesn’t have that great near alliteration we writers love, but it’s a better way to live.)

You don’t need a new you. You need an opening to understand the you you’ve got.

As a leader, you cannot lead anyone else until you lead yourself.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m really hard to manage.

Your client relationships will improve, your team engagement will increase, and your general well-being will flourish when you begin by leading yourself.

So, let’s begin the year with a new opening into knowing yourself. 

Leading yourself starts with exploring three key areas: your personality, your narratives or mindset, and your values.

I write frequently about how personality and stories impact your leadership skills. Today we’re opening up to values.

Exploring your values is not creating a few feel-good words to share on a review or in an interview. Values are the foundation you build to your engagement with the world.

The business case for basing your work on values is undeniable. Forbes reports that values-driven corporate cultures have 682% higher revenue. Harvard Business School found cultures that begin with values have a 756% higher net income. And just one more: the 100 Best Companies to Work For (in the US) do better in annual growth rates by 5% on the S&P 500 and have 65% less turnover. 

Your new opening is profitable and powerful.

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Here’s how you open up to values so they are effective in your life and career. NDO

Name Your Values

Narrow down to five core values and name them. Not just up in your head, but write them down. I have a few different exercises I use with my clients, and we’ll be doing my favorite at the Joyosity Retreat. As you narrow, you may need to categorize under headings until you come to your core five. Also, pay attention to your body. Your gut will tell you when you’ve landed on the right one.

Define Them

I love a good dictionary. Oxford is my go-to. But defining values is more than the standard definition. Write a few sentences about what this value means for you in your current situation (meaning not what it looked like 10 years ago. Right now). Paint the picture of this value. What does it look like, feel like, sound like? The more you describe the value, the more effective.

Operate By Your Values

The magic is this step. Operate your life from your values. I work with clients, both individuals and teams, to create a blueprint and operating system based on their values. One of my clients values transparency, and they were growing rapidly and hiring fast. They gathered different managers and team members to ask questions about the varied experiences and shared the needs and struggles of the executive team. This not only built trust, but also created better roles that filled the actual needs of the organization. This works for you as an individual as well.

You are worthy right now. You don’t need to be someone new. Explore your personality, your narratives or mindset, and your values so you continue to grow and become your favorite version of yourself.

“New Year. New You.” can just retire. 

New Year. New Opening. starts with you.

What about you? When’s the last time you visited your values? Comment below! I’d love to hear.

Looking for a speaker to help your team operate by values? Jenn Whitmer speaks on creating positive culture with complex people. She can bring a powerhouse keynote or high-impact workshop to your next event so that your organization gains profitability and retains engaged employees, and you and your people experience joy at work. Contact us to find out more.


  1. […] Ouch.So how do you live free and flourishing? Living out Joyosity™? We talked last week about NDO — Name. Define. Operate. You have core values you choose, and core values your Enneagram personality has. (If you’re new […]


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