You Are Your Own Role Model: 3 Tips to Staying on Your Path

“You Are Your Own Role Model: 3 Tips to Staying on Your Path” was originally posted by hint Founder & CEO, Kara Goldin, on LinkedIn here

Being the founder and CEO of Hint, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to seek advice, ask for opinions, or follow someone else’s lead. When the stakes are high, that little voice can sneak in and remind you that so-and-so has more experience, more financial success, more connections—maybe they’d know best. But I’ve come to learn that though it’s tempting to look outside for answers when you’re captain of the ship, ultimately only you know what direction you should be heading.

Here’s a great example. Hint is about improving people’s lives by offering fruit infused water that’s fun to drink while also being pure and wholesome—no sweeteners allowed. We get that our customers trust us with their health, and we take that relationship very seriously. So imagine my shock when an important investor approached me and suggested we start adding sweeteners to help grow the business faster. I thought, Do you even get what we’re doing here? We’re not tricking our consumer—that’s not us.  It was so absurd, it was comical.

But the truth is that there are a lot of bad actors out there, willing to spin anything to reap a profit. When you’re in a position like mine, there’s never a shortage of outside pressures, and too often they’re attached to people who not only don’t have your best interest at heart—they don’t even get what your best interest is! If you’re not firm on where you stand and what you believe in, veering off-course isn’t just possible, it’s probable.

The good news is you can always course-correct an ongoing project, and you can take steps to make sure new projects get off the ground with clarity and purpose—and stay that way. Here are some tips to help you follow your own path.

1. Value Your Values

Take a good look at your life. What really matters to you? What do you want to be known for? If you’re always looking for direction outside of yourself, you can too easily start a comparison game rooted in things you ultimately aren’t that invested in. Ground yourself in a solid understanding of who you are, find out what difference you want to make, and then get out there and make it.

2. Timing Is Everything

If you’re like me—working crazy hours all day and coming home to a house full of kids—it often feels like you’re on a treadmill with no off switch. This is a dangerous time for decision-making. Take the time to step back and think about who you want to be for yourself, your family, and your employees. Don’t make those crucial decisions when you’re in a headspace of tension and chaos—those are moments when you’re in survival mode, and that tempting offer to turn onto the fast lane instead of keeping to the high road can look mighty appealing. Take a breath, a walk, a night to sleep on it—and come back when you’re ready to make a decision that will reflect what you truly believe in.

3. People Matter

We’re all social creatures, and we need those connections to keep us going.  So while you’re learning to put your values at the forefront of your life, don’t forget to surround yourself with people who are doing the same. The people we choose as friends will have an impact on our own attitudes and energy—commit yourself to relationships that revitalize and inspire you. Negative energy will only hold you back and keep you from staying focused on your path. A circle of friends who get who you are and what you stand for can only help you be true to yourself because there’s no outside pressure to act against your belief system, there’s only support for the values that matter to you.