Not so long ago, call it right after World War II, a bargain was struck. You would trade 47 years of your life for a salary, healthcare, and a pension plan. At some point in time this bargain fell apart. It wasn’t broken all at once. It deteriorated over time, maybe starting in the 1960s or 1970s. It fell to pieces in the 1990s. In this Century, the bargain is a memory.We now live in the Disruptive Age.No More Bargains.You won’t have one job your entire life. You aren’t going to be guaranteed an employer paid healthcare or retirement plan. And what the federal government will provide for you won’t be adequate, nor will it be desirable. If you’re an employer, you won’t keep your employees for their entire life either.This is the reality underlying the Value Creator’s Code.The Value Creator’s CodeThe first rule of the code is to recognize that you are a value creator. You have to accept that you are the source of everything you will have, do, or become. You have to accept that any income you generate, any results you produce, and your physical, spiritual, and psychological well-being are 100% your responsibility. It’s all you, baby!You have a 100% equity stake in what Tom Peters first described as Brand You. You own every bit of it, every share.When you look at your brand’s income statement and balance sheet it’s a reflection of how well your brand is performing in a marketplace crowded with other brands.It’s impossible that you hadn’t thought of yourself as being a brand before now. There’s too much written about this for you to have avoided this idea. But have you thought about your brand’s balance sheet and income statement before now? It’s a striking thought, isn’t it? Your brand has a real monetary value.Because you have a 100% equity stake in your brand, you are the Chairman and CEO of the brand. The first job of the value creator is to increase the worth of the most valuable asset they have: their brand.But, Wait! I’m Not a Solo Act.If you work for someone else, your brand is on loan to that organization. What they’re paying you is the representation of the value they believe you create. The law of the wood burning stove applies here: before more heat is generated more wood must be placed in the stove. The more value you create, the more your brand is worth.If you’re an employer, not to worry. You want to hire people that understand their brand equity. These Value Creators are who you need to grow your company. People that grow businesses understand that it is their primary duty to increase their value to their company and the companies they serve. The Value Creators make up your leadership pipeline. In fact, if you really want to know what your company is worth, it’s the sum total of all of the individual balance sheets and income statements of the employees who work for you. They are what generates that value.The first rule of the Value Creator’s Code is to believe and behave as if you have 100% equity in brand you and to work tirelessly to increase the value of that primary asset.