Why It’s Important to Develop Personal Core Principles

Think about the place you work—chances are, you know the general core principles that guide your company.These principles are important to your career because they help you establish the ultimate goal and manage your time and priorities. At ClassPass, we ask our employees to consider efficiency, positivity and growth in every decision they make, no matter how large or small. 

But having core principles isn’t only important in the workplace. As an individual, it’s important to develop your own guiding standards so that no matter what life or work comes your way, you know what you believe in, what you stand for and what leads your daily decisions. 

Last year was a big journey for me, both personally and professionally, and it inspired me to consider my own core principles. What matters the most to me? What helps me make healthy choices that keep me motivated, challenged and happy? So far, I’ve come up with this list of core principles, and throughout 2016, I encourage you to think of your own. It’s never too soon to determine what really makes you – you!

I will always find time for dance.

When I couldn’t find a way to balance my job and find a dance class in New York, I knew something had to give. (That is, after all, how the idea of ClassPass was born!) Whatever it is that makes you feel at home—yoga, writing, arts and crafts, gardening—make time for it. Your passions will keep you focused, content and inspired in all aspects of your life.

I trust my gut.

My dad taught me to never do anything that doesn’t feel right or makes me uncomfortable. Back when ClassPass was first taking off, I was given the opportunity to partner with many people and companies. But what mattered the most to me was how my gut responded. It’s guided my relationships, friendships and business decisions, and so far, it hasn’t steered me wrong.

I follow inspiration.

Consider the people and things that truly leave you in awe. What qualities do they have that you admire? What is it about those things that make you think differently? I’ve always followed inspiration, and they often lead me to the right conclusion. 

I love my body.

Part of what I love the most about ClassPass is the flexibility it gives our members. You can truly work out at a time that fits into your daily life, no matter if it’s at 6 a.m. or 8 p.m. Making time to exercise is a way of showing love to your body, and it’s important to take care of it. I carve out time to be active as way of appreciating all of the amazing things my body is capable of. 

I’m a lifelong learner.

While I’ve technically been out of school for a long time, I try to be a student in every aspect of my life. Why? Because I love my mind and I want to stay curious by engaging with people and activities that interests me. Consider who you spend the most time with and how you allot your spare hours. Are your learning from those experiences? 

I’m not afraid to dream.

As we get older and start settling into routines and have more responsibilities, it can be difficult to keep on dreaming. There are always more things we can do, experience, achieve and change. I make time to dream months, years and decades down the road, both personally and professionally. It’s an easy – and fun! – way to keep myself optimistic. 

I ask for what I want.

There’s absolutely no shame in admitting when you don’t know how to do something or you want something different than what you have. In fact, it’s often how you advance your career and soak up more knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want in your friendships, in your career, in love. You can start in small ways and make goals for bigger things. But don’t be afraid to ask for what you truly want and then go after it.

I don’t want to be normal.

Who wants to be “normal?” Not me—and not you! You want to be you, whoever that is and whatever matters the most to you. I don’t let myself be defined by titles or words, and instead, look inward to accept the good and the bad qualities that make me, me. Celebrate your uniqueness without comparing yourself to others.

I focus on the fix.

Instead of worrying, consider the solution to whatever you’re anxious about. I learned this from my mom: Fixing is often the fun part, while being upset wastes your time and energy. Next time you’re in a situation where you are worried, step away and think constructively on how to fix it. It’ll help you get out of your thoughts and into action.

I celebrate life.

You’re balancing a busy life with an active lifestyle, and sometimes it can be difficult to take a moment to simply celebrate the goodness in your life. I make sure my calendar allows for celebrations with the people who matter the most to me, and that keeps me grounded. Celebrate everything in your life with those special people in your circle. It’ll give the best kind of energy back to you. 

Payal Kadakia is the Founder & Executive Chairman of ClassPass and the artistic director of The Sa Dance Company. She’s been a ‘dancetrepreneur’ since the age of 3 and has been dancing for more than 25 years.