If you grew up in the united states, you know what i`m talking about

If you grew up in the United States, you know what I`m talking about. Every child learns the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school . . .

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We recite it, perhaps without giving it too much thought, but if you read it, you can see that we are pledging our allegiance to things that matter to us.

Francis Bellamy wrote the original pledge (it has been altered slightly) in August 1892 for publication in the September 8th issue of The Youth`s Companion (compare it to Reader`s Digest today). Later he wrote about how he came to create the Pledge, here`s a snippet of what he said:

“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution…with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…”

How would your life be different if you sat down and had an “intensive communing with the salient points” of your values and what you hold most dear?

Am I suggesting you create a personal pledge of allegiance to the things you hold most dear?

Actually, yes.

Here`s why.

When we think deeply and clearly about our values, our whole life comes into clearer focus. We become more intentional, aware and observant about our thoughts and actions. And, when we live in a more connected way to those values we will be happier, more successful, more satisfied and likely healthier.

Aren`t these reasons enough?

How to Do It
Perhaps “intensely communing” isn`t enough direction for you. (I get that!) Let me give you a couple steps to help you create your personal Pledge of Allegiance.

Spend some quiet time with a journal, pad of paper or your laptop (turn off your phone and your internet connections – no distractions).
Think about those things, people and values you hold most dear. Start by brainstorming a list – not everything will be in your pledge – just write or type.
If you have trouble with the blank sheet of paper you can get a list of values from us to help you with your brainstorming. Go to www.RLBonus.com and download with the keyword: values.
Once you have a list, pare it down to the most essential. All on the list are values, but you want to end up with the most precious and closely held. (After all, you don`t want a pledge paragraph!)
Craft a statement tying those values together – you can start with “I pledge allegiance” or however you`d like, it`s your pledge.
Realize that this is for you and no one else – don`t strive for perfect, but for meaningful and memorable.
Write it down in your journal or wherever you can easily access it.
Live with it for a few days, being open to edits and adjustments.

How to Use it
So, now that you have written it, now what?

First let me say if you get through step four above, you have achieved much of the value!

Perhaps you don`t need an actual pledge; though it will help you further crystallize your thinking and make it more memorable. The point is to keep your values in front of you so you can be more intentional about matching your everyday actions with those values.

In keeping with that goal, whether you have a pledge, oath or a simple short list; find a way to review or read or “pledge” them every day. This conscious act will make your values more real, remembered and relevant in your life.

Taking these steps will absolutely create new results in all parts of your life – as an individual, as a friend, a parent, a sibling, a son or daughter. It will help you at work as well – to be more centered, focused, influential and persuasive.

For any one of these reasons I urge you to take the plunge, and write your personal pledge. Why not start right now?

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