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September may not be the first month of the year, but it’s the starting place for a lot of people. Kids go back to school. Routines are re-established. Everyone starts to get serious about closing some business by the holidays. In the September series, Set the Tone, we’ll explore techniques to get your life in order.

Reverend Karyl Huntley is a strong advocate for change, but there’s a catch. To create Divine Order, you must engage four different modalities, your: (1) beliefs; (2) feelings; (3) speech; and (4) action. The trick is to get all four working at once. In fact, you must do so to invite Good into your life.

She makes an important point. We’ve all seen people out of balance. They have powerful feelings, but their emotions dominate their speech. They have a wonderful vision based on high-minded beliefs, yet can’t marshall those ideas into action.

If you’re using September as a reboot, the first place to start is your core values. Can you quickly name three of yours?

“Clean up your messes.”

“Sometimes, you’re wrong.”

“When the job is done, walk away.”

Do these statements sound like old-fashioned advice? Well, they kind of are. They’re part of Leroy Jethro Gibbs personal code, known by the staff of “NCIS” as “Gibbs’ Rules.”

There’s always a back story to Gibbs’ Rules – it’s part of what makes them interesting. The same idea applies to knowing your core beliefs. If life is ultimately organized around what we value, we must understand what’s driving us.

Author Louise Hay once had a curious conversation with a woman attending a workshop. The woman came to the microphone desperately searching for advice about her workplace.

“I try to be positive, but everyone is so negative. They can be really awful!”

Louise gave her a few suggestions along with some encouragement. She shook her head. “I’ve tried things like that, but nothing seems to work.”

Louise tried another idea or two, but she was quickly dismissed. She suddenly changed her approach. She calmly asked the woman, “Why are you there?”

Silence. The questioner stalled time by repeating Louise’s question. “Why am I there?”

Louise persisted. “Yes. If things are so bad, why are you there?”

The questioner stammered. Finally she admitted, “Uh, I like it there.”

Their pointed exchange shows how challenging it can be to harmonize beliefs with everyday life. To her surprise, the questioner came to face to face with her choices. Staying at a job conflicting with her values was as much a problem as the office gossip. It’s hard to get to the high road when you spend your day knee deep in the drama ditch.

So, do you have your own set of Gibbs’ Rules that set the tone for your life? This week, dig deep to find a few graceful, sustainable values. Start choosing beliefs that will be the rocket fuel for your feelings, speech and action. And be sure to work in rule #5: “Don’t waste good.”