Exploring Values: Honor

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 at 2:38 pm

An important step in any life change is an exploration and review of one’s values. I learned this from a wonderful executive coach, Starla West, who showed me a list similar to this one. The first value I selected, and the one I come back to time and again, is Honor.

“Return with Honor,” motto of the 31st Fighter Wing

Honor has resonance for me because of the way my parents raised me, but also because of my military service. “Return with Honor” was the motto of the unit to which I was assigned at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The motto was emblazoned at the entrance to base headquarters, it was displayed on the F-4 Phantom fighter jets chocked up on the flightline, and it was embroidered on patches sewn onto my fatigues.

The value of this idea, to return with honor, was later reinforced at the USAF Survival School, where I was stationed and served as its Wing Historian. In addition to basic survival training, the unit conducted resistance training using lessons from the Vietnam War and other conflicts. Pilots, navigators and intelligence officers took the training, which involved survival, evasion, resistance and escape. The goal, if captured, was to return with honor. That meant not giving crucial information to the enemy, not betraying your fellow service members and holding your conduct to the highest standards.

Honor is decency. It’s integrity. It’s doing what’s right and good when no one is looking. It plays out in the workplace through hard work, diligence and persistence, something I absolutely believe everyone owes to their employer. It’s doing your best, regardless of circumstances. Honor is fairness, and it is Truth.

Imagine if honor was the first requirement for our leaders and elected officials. What a different world that would be!


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