Do You Have a Personal Playbook?

What guides you right or left?

What guides you right or left?

Do You Have a Personal Playbook?

Last week, we learned why it’s important to know what we believe about why we’re alive by developing a Beliefs List. The next step in living a life aligned with your beliefs is to create a Principles List.

A Principles List is your personal playbook of rules to follow as you travel life’s winding, and often uncertain, road. Principles ground our actions and reactions. They provide a context for making important decisions as you approach forks in the road. Defining your ideal behavior starts by knowing what makes you feel good … and bad.

Principles, in a communal sense, guide our choices on how we coexist, connect with, and care for each other within the accepted norms of society. In a personal sense, they serve as your inner GPS. They’re the ideal behaviors you choose to live by because they support your beliefs and how you want to show up in the world.

The goal isn’t perfection, but rather taking responsibility for becoming the best version of ourselves. How we show up in life isn’t just about us—it also includes how we treat others and the experiences that result from interacting with us. This could be with our partner, our friends, co-workers, children, and even people who may never know our name.

We perform our best when we understand what’s expected of us, including what we expect of ourselves. Likewise, we’re most equipped to make important decisions after we’ve defined the outer edge of our personal limits.

If you don’t know what your principles are, it’s easy to go through life acting and reacting according to someone else’s moral compass. This often creates resentment, anxiety, and resignation because what drives someone else’s behavior doesn’t necessarily align with your inner compass.

You can’t individually fix all that’s wrong in society, but you can control how you act and add to, or take away from, the environment you directly impact. Knowing your own limits allows you to live within them, resulting in less drama and a healthier life.

A wise therapist once told me, “Character isn’t built on what people say, it’s built on what they do. Watch their actions, not their words, Dana. The two must align for someone to be living in integrity and be considered trustworthy.”

Our character is ultimately defined by how others describe their experience of us. It’s about how we show up!

Honesty and integrity include being honest with ourselves. Thought leader Bryant McGill says, “Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward—get real with yourself!”

That’s why the life mapping process begins by shining a spotlight on ourselves. If we’re living from our core and what’s most important to us, that purposeful action and energy radiates outward and positively impacts others. Developing and embodying our Principles List moves us one step closer to a kinder world.


Dana V. Adams