Personal Code of EthicsQUESTION: How do I develop a personal code of ethics?
How do I develop a personal code of ethics? Developing your own personal code of ethics is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. A personal code of ethics puts into writing those ideas and philosophies that are the essence of your life and allows you to say I will do this because I believe this.
A code of ethics is a document, which you can look to each day not only as a reminder of what you believe in but also as an encouragement to carry on with your daily walk.
The main question most people have is “how do I develop a personal code of ethics?” The answer really is quite simple, but it will take a little work and thought on your part.
First, take stock of your life. Take the time to write down who you are. This is a reflection of who you believe yourself to be. Think of it this way. If you asked a friend to describe you, what would they say? An example of this would be someone saying to you that you are helpful or that you are kind. List all the traits that anyone has ever pointed out to you.
Second, think about what you believe. Make a list of all of your ethical beliefs. Don’t worry about why you believe them just write down as many of your personal beliefs as you can think of. These are the beliefs that carry you through your everyday life and define your decision-making process.
Third, think about the places you work, rest, and play and how you relate to all the people you come in contact with. Are there things that you would like to change about these relationships that would involve listing them in a code of ethics? I am not only talking about any obvious things like any misdealing with customers or family members. I am talking about the little things as well, such as gossip, etc.
Fourth, now that you have your beliefs written down, think about why you believe them. This is essential because it sets up how important each of your beliefs are to you. The source of all ethical beliefs is the Bible. So if you have any favorite verses, now would be the time to list them next to each of your beliefs that is shaped by a biblical truth.
Now that you have all the information about who you are and why you believe what you do, it is time to write and develop a personal code of ethics. This is not as hard as you think it might be, but it will take you a little time to think about what you want to include and not include.
The first part of your personal code of ethics is the purpose for your personal code of ethics. Are you writing it to regulate your behavior or to inspire you to greater heights? Whatever your reason, this is where you will develop the philosophy behind your code of ethics. The only requirement is that the purpose, as well as the code of ethics, be tailored to your needs.
The second part of your personal code of ethics is what I like to call the “I will” section of your personal code of ethics. God, in the Bible, set up His “I will’s” which are based on who He is. This is the same thing you need to do. Go through the list of how people see you and look to see if any match up to what you believe. This is the aspirations section of your document. All the traits that you now exhibit as well as those you wish to develop should be included.
The third part of your code of ethics is the rules or beliefs you expect yourself to follow when dealing with other people. These are all the “why’s” listed in the information gathering part of the process of writing a personal code of ethics. In this section, you might want to list some Bible verses that help you to see the importance of applying your personal code of ethics to your life.
Once you are done writing the first draft, look it over and refine it as necessary and as changes come in your life. Remember you are writing the code of ethics and it will be up to you to follow it.