If you’re a Generation-Xer like me, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all.” I heard my parents make this statement plenty of times while growing up. As a kid, I didn’t care. Whatever menial task I was supposed to do got done by exerting the least amount of effort in the shortest amount of time possible and still be considered, in my childlike estimation, finished.
As an adult, that phrase still rings through time and space to find me in my current existence. I didn’t know at the time how much my parent’s words would settle into my being, but I’m glad they did. Principles are my foundation. They’ve helped me define myself and forge boundaries between what I will do and what I won’t do. They guide me through tough decisions and help me to stay firm once the decision is made.
How does one go about defining their principles? First, you have to deeply believe and firmly align yourself with the reasons in which a principle is based. Secondly, you practice it.
Here in Wisconsin, there’s deep German roots in beer making…and then drinking the beer you just made. From beer, it escalates to mixers, and then slides right over to shots. About 15 years ago, I stopped drinking mixers and adamantly refuse to do shots. My friends will give me grief and try to get me to at least do a foo-foo shot. “Just do one!” Absolutely not. Out of principle, I don’t drink hard liquor. It messes me up bad. It’s usually a pretty short walk to blackout street and a bumpy ride down vomit avenue. The days following aren’t any better. For these unfortunate reasons, the decision for me NOT to drink hard liquor is an easy one.
What about the principles that are not so easy; the principles that are based on doing the “right thing”? Well, here’s how I define the “right thing” – the principle is based on something that rings true for all parties involved. There’s no stipulations and one group doesn’t have to suffer in order for another group to thrive. It naturally gives rise to feelings based out of love for yourself and others. Think about the deeply held principle of freedom. How does the word feel inside of you? Is it something you deeply believe in and align yourself with? Is it something that is true for everyone? And is the principle built from love? This makes my decisions very easy and it’s the yardstick I use to measure what’s right for me.
Many years ago, when I decided I wanted to start a business, my principles were front and center. Whatever I chose needed to reflect me as a person and my ideals. Immediately, I knew the product had to be natural. In my estimation, things created by Nature just work better; almost as if Mother Nature had billions of years of testing to perfect her creations. Next, the product had to be simple and require a minimal amount of energy to produce. I witnessed first-hand from my old manufacturing jobs that there’s elegance in efficiency. In addition, the product needed to be different than what’s already on the market. Who the heck needs another mediocre choice in the already cluttered category of “Just Average”? Lastly, I wanted to choose something that I felt was done out of love. The product needed to be created out of care for the person using it. The ingredients needed to be safe for them, it had to provide value to them, and it had to make life easier for them.
Once I sat down and defined my principles, picking a product to sell was easy. Finding the product was a whole other story. I’m very happy to report that there are still people in the world that hear the echo of their parent’s words and build their lives around principles that are tried and true. My manufacturer is one of those wonderful people and so is the product he created – R86 Odor Eliminator. We’ve helped and supported each other through thick and thin and I’ve personally appreciated his unwavering discipline to doing the “right thing”.
Is there anyone else out there who builds on principles?