The Importance of Developing a Personal Philosophy

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I admire people who choose not to drink or eat certain foods until they begin to instruct others to follow their particular regimen.

This was a quote that I fell in love with the minute I saw it, from consultant, author and speaker Alan Weiss. I believe that we need to make choices that work for us whether we’re talking about food, exercise, work or relationships. However it is not our responsibility to force our way of being onto someone else.

I admire people who make a choice, make a commitment and follow through without ever turning back. I was like that when I chose to become a pescadarian (a vegetarian who also eats fish). From the first day I made that decision many moons ago to present, I have not returned to my meat eating ways. I meet many people who ask me why I did that, who claim that they could never do it, but I’ve never forced anyone to adopt my pescadarian ways. Nor do I shame them because they make other choices.

What I want to talk about today is following through. How do we keep those promises we make to ourselves?

quotes-1600-900-wallpaperThis was exactly what an employee asked, after reviewing his company’s unveiling of its 10 service values. He realized that while each value was simple and most times each employee lived each value – the difficulty as far as he could see was in consistency – how do we keep this uppermost in our minds and live it daily? He offered his own suggestion around having the right mindset and loving what you do. And that’s part of it. The other huge part is repetition.

This is exactly how huge organizations like Disney and The Ritz Carlton manage to scale and be consistent in delivering service beyond their guest’s expectations – year in…year out. The Ritz Carlton in particular incorporates a morning “lineup,” a concept that comes from the early restaurants in France, where the chef got his entire team together at 5:30 in the evening and communicated what they would be serving that day, what was not available and which wines were to be offered.

The Ritz Carlton line up typically takes around 15 minutes every day. It is a wonderful training and communication tool. In every daily staff meeting, Ritz-Carlton managers reinforce one of 12 service values that all employees are expected to embody on the job. Employees are encouraged to discuss how this value applies to their daily tasks.

Companies and small businesses can have service values to guide them but what about individuals? Can this concept work for individuals as effectively as it has for service driven companies like the Ritz Carlton and Disney?

Sure if you develop, what fitness coach Craig Ballantyne calls your personal philosophy. Your personal philosophy will guide you to guilt-free behavior that is congruent with your goals. But it has to come from you. Sure you might have a similar philosophy to someone else but not all parts of their philosophy will fit yours.

One of my very dear friends recently decided that in addition to his strict fitness philosophy – that he was going to cut out beer. I was a bit sad to hear this news because I enjoyed discussing with him, how we would save the world, while sipping cold beer, every other week. He explained his rationale but reassured me that we could still meet at the pub! That was great. I didn’t have to stop drinking beer, try to be like him, or feel guilty for drinking beer. It was his choice based on his philosophy that worked for him.

I took Craig’s advice to heart and penned my own philosophy – 15 steps in total including guidelines around when I will write, how often, when I’ll check emails, the amount of effort I am prepared to put in to achieve my goals and that I will keep the child in me alive.

There is value in writing your own rules down. Craig says “Every week you make decisions that leave you full of guilt and remorse, but on the other hand you also make decisions that you know are correct – even though they are difficult to make. Wouldn’t you be better off if you made MORE correct decisions with less effort? Of course! And that is where your rules to live by, your personal philosophy, comes into play.”

As a result of making more correct decisions, you’ll move closer to your goals and suffer less frustration. Life will be simpler once you start adhering to your own personal philosophy – and not worrying too much about what others think.

Stay strong. Know what matters and never give up on what is important to you. Don’t let the little opinions of small-minded people stop you from achieving your big goals and dreams. Over time, through your actions and through leading with your personal philosophy you will turn many of those doubters into believers. But that’s not as important as being able to believe in yourself!


 Are you struggling with how to make quality decisions, how to manage severe conflicts and stresses, how to deal with such fundamental matters as self-respect, purpose in life, dead-ends and the frustrations of rejection, demotivation and disempowerment? 

What is the most important issue you need to address today in your life, business (or anywhere else, for that matter)? How will you be your smartest and most accomplished best to deliver the greatest and most impeccable contribution that you have ever seen yourself make in this situation? Let’s talk. Email me – giselle at

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