Leaders: Why Should We Care About What You Value?

Leaders: Why Should We Care About What You Value?

Knowing who we are and what we stand for in life requires each of us to find and use our VOICE.  And that first step in finding our VOICE is to recognize our VALUES.  That is the V in VOICE.

No matter all of the leadership roles we play, identifying what really matters to us is critical if we want to live a life of true alignment.   Not understanding or knowing what our core leadership values are, can be like a ship without a rudder…listless and just floating along…bumping into rocks, needing a tug or a push, and certainly lacking purpose and direction.  Have you ever felt like that?

In our daily life, whether we know it or not, we are constantly in situations where how we react, how we feel, how we engage with others are all determined by our core values.

Maybe it is somebody who is stating their opinion that we agree or disagree with. Maybe it is somebody who is doing something in front of us that we agree or disagree with.  Or maybe it is somebody who is asking us to do something that we agree to do…or perhaps not want to do (but we do it anyway).   Any of these scenarios call upon our values, our belief system, to determine how we react and feel.

So how can you tell if you are living a life aligned to your values?

Have you ever felt conflicted about doing something?  Or wanting to speak up because you don’t agree?  Or feeling tired and drained after a certain experience or perhaps after engaging with a certain person? Or getting a feeling deep down inside that you know something is wrong? Or even feeling regretful about something you said or did?

This list can go on and on…but these can all be signs that we are running up against our values.  That something is out of alignment.

Those of us that work in an office setting can be surrounded by stated values all of the time, these organizational values tell us how we are supposed to act or think.  These values are sometimes on framed posters around the office or we carry them on a laminated card. Have you ever worked in an environment where the values of the organization are not aligned to your set of core values?  How does that make you feel? Each day thousands of people go to work at a place that they do no trust or respect…not the best place to do your best work I would think.  Have you ever worked at a company like that?

Our values are our inner GPS, our core belief system that guides our decisions and behaviors.  Most of the decisions we make on a daily basis derive from our values, whether we are aware of it or not.  Think of the different roles we may play in life.  As a parent, as a student, as a leader, as a partner…each of those roles has a set of values that determine how we act out those roles in life.

Push yourself to remain genuine to who you are and what you represent…it’s not that hard.  It is much harder to maintain a facade and not be true to your values and your purpose.

Living a life that is aligned to your values can mean living a life with purpose and commitment.  It doesn’t mean that everything will work out splendidly all the time or that you won’t have obstacles in the way or challenges to deal with.  But if you are aware of your core values and live your life true to them, you will be much better prepared with the confidence and the muscle to get through and thrive from any challenge life throws at you.

Finding your VOICE as a leader means discovering your core VALUES; creating a compelling vision to get the OUTCOMES you want; building relationships with INFLUENCE and credibility; making decisions that use your COURAGE to stand alone; and communicating your overall EXPRESSION for lasting impact.

Life is too short not to use your VOICE.  What are you waiting for?

Paul N. Larsen
Twitter Email

Paul partners with leaders across a variety of industries and within organizations of all sizes to build and expand their leadership strength with a deliberate purpose and cle ... Click for full bio

Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily

Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily

What a week it was.

First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern American history. On behalf of everyone at U.S. Global Investors, I extend my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.

The memory of the shooting was still fresh in people’s minds during last Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere of Blade Runner 2049, which nixed the usual red carpet and other glitz in light of the tragedy. Before the film, producers shared poignant words, saying that in times such as these, the arts are crucial now more than ever.

I had the distinct privilege to attend the premiere. My good friend Frank Giustra, whose production company Thunderbird Entertainment owns a stake in the Blade Runner franchise, was kind enough to invite me along. Despite the somber mood—a pivotal scene in the film even takes place in an irradiated Las Vegas—I thought Blade Runner 2049 was spectacular. Even if you’re not a fan of the original 1982 film, it’s still worth experiencing in theaters. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s synth-heavy score is especially haunting.

CNET recently published an interesting piece examining the accuracy of future tech as depicted in the original Blade Runner, from androids to flying cars to off-world travel read the article here.

Still in the Early Innings of Cryptocurrencies

Speaking of the future, I spoke on the topic of the blockchain last week at the Subscriber Investment Summit in Vancouver. My presentation focused on the future of mining—not just of gold and precious metals but also cryptocurrencies.

Believe it or not, there are upwards of 2,100 digital currencies being traded in the world right now, with a combined market cap of nearly $150 billion, according to Coinranking.com.

Obviously not all of these cryptos will survive. We’re still in the early innings. Last month I compared this exciting new digital world to the earliest days of the dotcom era, and just as there were winners and losers then, so too will there be winners and losers today. Although bitcoin and Ethereum appear to be the frontrunners right now, recall that only 20 years ago AOL and Yahoo! were poised to dominate the internet. How times have changed!

It will be interesting to see which coins emerge as the “Amazon” and “Google” of cryptocurrencies.

For now, Ethereum has some huge backers. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), according to its website, seeks to “learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production—Ethereum.” The EEA includes several big-name financial and tech firms such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, whose own CEO, Jamie Dimon, knocked cryptos a couple of weeks ago.

To learn more about the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, watch this engaging two-minute video.

Understanding blockchain in two minutes

Will Bitcoin Replace Gold?

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more headlines asking whether cryptos are “killing” gold. Would the gold price be higher today if massive amounts of money weren’t flowing into bitcoin? Both assets, after all, are sometimes favored as safe havens. They’re decentralized and accepted all over the world, 24 hours a day. Transactions are anonymous. Supply is limited.

Have gold and bitcoin peaked for 2017

But I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.

Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.

Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.

I will admit, though, that bitcoin is energizing some investors, especially millennials, in ways that gold might have a hard time doing. The proof is all over the internet. You can find a number of TED Talks on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, but to my knowledge, none is available on gold investing. YouTube is likewise bursting at the seams with videos on cryptos.

Bitcoin is up 350 percent for the year, Ethereum an unbelievable 3,600 percent. Gold, meanwhile, is up around 10 percent. Producers, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, have gained 11.5 percent in 2017, 23 percent since its 52-week low in December 2016.

Related: Gold and Bitcoin Surge on North Korea Fears

Look Past the Negativity to Find the Good News

The news is filled with negative headlines, and sometimes it’s challenging to stay positive. Take Friday’s jobs report. It showed that the U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first month in seven years that this happened. A weak report was expected because of Hurricane Irma, but no one could have guessed the losses would be this deep.

The jobs report wasn’t all bad news, however. For one, the decline is very likely temporary. Beyond that, a record 4.88 million Americans who were previously sitting out of the labor force found work last month. This helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.

Have gold and bitcoin peaked for 2017

There’s more that supports a stronger U.S. economy. As I shared with you last week, the Manufacturing ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 13-year high in September, indicating rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry. Factory orders were up during the month. Auto sales were up. Oil has stayed in the relatively low $50-a-barrel range, which is good for transportation and industrials, especially airlines. Small-cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, continue to climb above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages as excitement over tax reform intensifies.

These are among the reasons why I remain bullish.

One final note: Speaking on tax reform, Warren Buffett told CNBC last week that he’s waiting to sell assets until he knows the plan will go through. “I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,” he said.

It’s a fair comment, and I imagine other like-minded, forward-thinking investors, buyers and sellers will also wait to make huge transactions if they can help it. Tax reform isn’t a done deal, but I think it has a much better chance of being signed into law than a health care overhaul.

Frank Holmes
Twitter Email

Frank Holmes is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors. Mr. Holmes purchased a controlling interest in U.S. Global Investors in 1989 and became the firm ... Click for full bio