This article by Crystal Good originally was published on the blog for Mythology Marketing on September 7, 2011.

Sometimes I feel like I have OPS – “Other People Syndrome.”   OPS is that constant feeling of worrying about what other people think of you. This “syndrome” has made me wonder if my values are actually mine, or do they belong to someone else?

It dawned on me that my OPS might be a key factor in my values and priorities when I started the Franklin Covey system. The Franklin Covey system requires you to prioritize your schedule based on your Core Values.  Like many planning or success systems, Franklin Covey teaches (and sometimes preaches) that in order to achieve our goals we must be very clear about our Core Values.
This message triggered many thoughts and some concerns for me.  Gradually, I realized that clarifying my values would make my life flow well, not just my work schedule.  More importantly, it would give everything in my life – and I mean everything – a stronger foundation. I am the mother of three children, active in my community, a marketing professional, a writer/poet, a daughter and sister, etc.  My list of to do’s can range from writing a poem, washing the car, speaking at an event, creating PowerPoint slides and scheduling haircuts.

As I became familiar with Franklin Covey, one point jumped out at me: Planning.

Planning is without a doubt the key to success.  My firm, Mythology, functions as a planning guide for business marketing.  I know the value of planning for clients, and with the Franklin Covey system I am determined to organize my life with my values, my priorities, and  my goals leading the way instead of OPS values.

In my planning process, I wondered: Do other people have “Other People’s Syndrome” too?  I instantly thought of the “rapid testing” tool we use at Mythology. It’s a marketing tag line testing tactic we use to quickly gather information for and about a client. Over the years we’ve learned that what businesses generally think of themselves is not what always what others perceive them to be. I think the same can be said for many people, so I decided to do my own “rapid testing” about core values.

When we do this rapid testing we are selective about the pool of people we use. I thought I should apply this same selectivity to my core values survey.  I looked for people whose lives seemed to be in synch with their values and priorities.  I thought by doing this I might find some common denominators with my own values.

I asked women whose occupations range  from homemakers to CEO’s, married and divorced, various ages and races –What VALUES do you VALUE most?? Integrity, adventure, spirituality, courage, balance?

They had no common denominator other than they are women, have or had some role in my life as a friend, mentor or business associate, and I deeply respect their opinions.

Here is what they reported:

  • Balance
  • Caring
  • Civic engagement
  • Compassion
  • Consideration
  • Courage
  • Courteous (Being Courteous)
  • Creativity
  • Dependability
  • Dignity
  • Equity
  • Excellence
  • Fairness
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Forbearance
  • Fortitude
  • Freedom
  • Fun
  • Generosity
  • Grace
  • Growth
  • Honesty
  • Humanity
  • Humility
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Passion
  • Professionalism
  • Progress
  • Respect
  • Sensuality
  • Spirituality
  • Understanding

I discovered that I shared many of the same values as the women I surveyed.  I also found a few of my core values missing in the list:  philanthropy, beauty, humor, and diversity.

Philanthropy, beauty, humor, and diversity are also values that I consistently apply in my work. I am getting closer to a definitive list and taking the next step in the Franklin Covey process, which is to develop a clarifying statement for my values.

Example (taken from the Franklin Covey value/mission worksheet):


I do excellent work every day.

I am open to ideas of others.

I have a positive attitude.

I am a team player.

Surprisingly the common values I found in my “rapid testing” poll showed me that “other people’s syndrome” isn’t such a bad thing when you’re asking the right people.  That is true in your personal life as well as your business.

Franklin Covey is helping me organize my work/life in the same way Mythology helps your business define its core values and ask the right people about your brand so you can Build Belief in your business.

So what core values are guiding you? I’d love to read some of your comments.

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