The Three Treasures


The Three Treasures 

September 30, 2021


This month I will share a few reflections on the foundational, and sometimes overlooked, importance of Values in the best practices of Leaders.  

At the outset, I want to be very clear -- this Blog is about inspiring you to reflect and dig deeper to discover your Top 3-5 Values. These could be Values that define your Leadership, the Culture of your organization, how you live your life, or all of the above.

I am neither preaching or teaching or coaching what your values "should be." My objective is to share resources in the hope they may be as inspirational to you as they have been to me in deepening my insights into the Values that are most important, personally and professionally, and why and how they prove to be important in the art of living and leading. 

We all have important insights on how to define Values. Here are 2 quotes form very different perspectives. As John C. Maxwell once said, "Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul." Values and living authentically are intrinsically connected. Or, consider Elvis Presley's insight, "Values are like fingerprints, nobody's are the same, but you leave them all over everything you touch." Indeed, your actions speak louder than your words. Values and action are intrinsically connected. 

My inspiration for this newsletter traces back to 3 years ago when I was a student in Robin Sharma's "66-Day Quest: Think Like a Hero; Perform Like a Genius; Live Like a Legend" on the MindValley platform. It is also inspired by a CHPC (TM) Leadership Course I am leading as well as some of the tough decisions civic and business leaders are making in the face of challenges stretching our resources in the health care industry. 

In Day 7 of Robin Sharma's Course, he discusses a framework for "How To Set Goals Like a History Maker."  In my opinion, Robin is a master at integrating practical steps that help people dream big and start small, with a foundation of being true to their values. His framework has 3 parts:

  1. The Big 5: Define your 5 highest priorities -- your top 5 goals. What do you want to achieve between today and the day you pass, that will mean you lived a beautiful life -- your best life? 
  2. Your Top 5 Values: Focus and write down your 5 Top Values that you live. As Robin says, "You become powerful when you become authentic." Knowing that you are running your own race, living life on you own terms and knowing your definition of success, is empowering to you and energizing to everyone around you -- personally and professionally. 
  3. The Daily 5 Wins: What are the 5 small wins you will commit to every day? After 1 week -- you will have 35 small wins. After 1 month, you will have 150 small wins. After 1 year, you have 1,850 small wins. How good a year would that be?! Who would you have become?!  

Our focus today, is on # 2  --  Your Top 5 Values. That, on its own, is a full plate. The context is important. Values are foundational. However, Part 1 and Part 3 of the framework are all about goals and taking action. Indeed, it is in living our values that we find our true inspiration for ourselves, and for others. 

Three years ago, I struggled to articulate my Top 5 Values -- Part 2 of Robin Sharma's framework. I had made significant progress in being clear on who I was as my Best Self and who I was when I was at my Best With Others [Ed. note: This is the Clarity Framework and Lesson # 2 in the Certified High Performance Coaching Program]. However, clarity on your Top 5 Values is different.

The question about defining my Top 5 Values was not something I paused to think about in my career on Wall Street. This is not one of the key questions many leadership and professional development courses cover. Or, when they do, it is often more performance-oriented rather than philosophical about how to live your best life, how to live authentically. 

On reflection, my values were ingrained in me at a very early age by my parents and Grandma. Sometimes, it is all to easy to forget or leave behind the lessons, the values we were brought up with or to get caught up in the swirl of cultural norms and expectations and the stress of complicated lives.  Add to that, we learn and grow. So taking time to pause and  reflect on new nuances and insights as to our Top 5 Values is worthwhile.  

Before you read on, hit the PAUSE button! Please write down your Top 5 Values.

What follows is some ancient wisdom from the Tao Te Ching to provide philosophical inspiration to feed your thoughts. At the end, I will share Robin Sharma's Top 5 Values from the 2018 Seminar. A caveat, they may not be exactly the same now. I will also share my Top 5 Values. My intent is not to compare lists. Your Top 5 Values are what is right for you. However, we do learn from each other. So, it seems fair to share. I  am doing the work too! I would love to hear from you, when you are open to sharing your Top 5 Values. 

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu is one of the most widely read books on this planet, after the Bible. The Tao Te Ching is roughly translated as "The Way." However, it is not a religious treatise. Rather it is a collection of 81 verses as "written" by a probably mythical person, Lao Tzu. Most scholars believe it it a compilation of the ancient wisdom on the art of living compiled from many Chinese sages between the seventh and second centuries, B.C. 

In Verse 67, the Sage shares his Three Treasures. The Three Treasures are the Virtues for living a life in harmony with the Tao. What is the Tao? In Verse 6 from Stephen Mitchell's Tao Te Ching: "The Tao is called the Great Mother: empty yet inexhaustible, it gives birth to infinite worlds. It is always present in you. You can use it in any way you want." The Tao Te Ching is most likely intentionally ambiguous -- requiring us to look within for its meaning. 

I have read several renditions of the Tao Te Ching -- and, what captivates me are the variations on the Three Treasures. For example: 

  • In the Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell, the Three Treasures are: Simplicity, Patience, and Compassion. 
  • In Dr. Wayne Dyer's, Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, the Three Treasures are: Mercy, Frugality and Humility. 
  • In the Tao Te Ching, The Definitive Edition, by Jonathan Star, the Three Treasures are: Love, Moderation and Humility. 

So the different pairings of the Three Treasures from the 3 renditions are: 

  • Compassion, Love and Mercy;
  • Simplicity, Frugality, and Moderation;
  • Patience and Humility. 

I present these example of the Three Treasures as inspiration to your reflections on your most important Values. 

Read on -- because the "why" these Three Treasures are so important is equally provocative. 

Stephen Mitchell writes: 

"Simple in actions and thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile to all beings in the world."

As Mitchell says in his notes, he has improvised from the original text -- an example of the influence of his Zen training. I love the connection between simplicity and being centered, between patience and accepting things as they are, and compassion and feeling we are all the same. 

Dr. Wayne Dyer writes: 

"From mercy comes courage.
From frugality comes generosity.
From humility comes leadership.
Now if one were bold but had no mercy,
if one were broad but were not frugal,
if one went ahead without humility,
          one would die." 

A different perspective. I love the inclusion of why and how mercy works with courage and why and how humility serves leadership. 

From Jonathan Star, comes this rendition:

"With love one is fearless
With moderation one is abundant
With humility one can fill the highest position
Now if one is fearless but has no love
      abundant but has no moderation
      rises up but has no humility
Surely he is doomed." 

I love the juxtaposition of love and fear, moderation and abundance, rising above and humility. 

I love the nuances and the different perspectives. Most of all I love the words which convey the Values and the the explanation of why these Values are important to how we live our lives. 

I love all three translations. I have gained different insights from each of them. Here is the full rendition of Verse 67 from Jonathan Star's The Tao Te Ching: 

All the world talks about my Tao
     with such familiarity--
What folly!
Tao is not something found in the marketplace
    or passed on from father and son
It is not something gained by knowing    
    or lost by forgetting
If Tao were like this
It would have been lost and forgotten long ago  

I have three treasures that I cherish and hold dear
     the first is love
    the second is moderation
    the third is humility
With love one is fearless
With moderation one is abundant
With humility one can fill the highest position
Now if one is fearless but has no love
    abundant but has no moderation
    rises up but has no humility
Surely he is doomed

Love vanquishes all attackers
It is impregnable in defense
When Heaven wants to protect someone
    does it send an army?
No, it protects him with love. 

The most important reason why I included the full translation of Verse 67 from Star is because I am inspired by the last 2 lines; "When Heaven wants to protect someone does it send an army? No, it protects him with love." This line resonates with me because I personally believe love is the greatest healing energy in the Universe. I feel protected by and safe in God's loving hands.  

I trust you are inspired and will now go back and review your list of your Top 5 Values. Share them with your family and friends and team members/collaborators. I invite you to share them with me, [email protected].

Are you living in alignment with your Values? Are your actions in alignment with your Values? Are your toughest decisions, personally and professionally, in alignment with your Values and your Corporate Culture? 

Now to finish this Blog, I will share: 

  • Robin Sharma's Top 5 Values for the 2018 66-Day Quest on MindValley: Mastery; Community; Beauty; Prosperity; Humanity. 
  • Alison's Top 5 Values: Integrity; Service; Compassion; Humility. Always Do My Very Best. 

With deepest respect and honor for everyone. 

 Talk soon and stay well,

Alison Lanza Falls


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