Monday, June 03, 2013

Our True Values

On leadership training programmes we often spend time discussing authenticity and self-awareness. Part of this involves exercises to explore personal values so we can better understand what is important to us and what we stand for.  For many of us, articulating our values and having a language for them is hard: it is often only when our values are challenged in some way that we recognise them as being imperative to the way we choose to live our lives.

Values exist, whether we recognise them or not.  They are core beliefs that guide us on how to live our lives in a meaningful way.   They emerge from a mix of our background and experiences, our emerging personality and sense of self.  Some may remain constant throughout our lives and others will develop and change. When our actions and behaviours are consistent with our values, we are usually happy and centred.  But when they don’t, we can become unhinged and feel compromised.  This is why making a conscious effort to identify our values is so important.

A great start is to think about times in your life when you were most happy, fulfilled and proud.  Think about who you were with, what you did and what choices you made. Then think about times when you were less satisfied and fulfilled.  Gradually exploring the insights from these thoughts will help to start the process of articulating what matters most to you in life.  Choosing then to consciously live these values, to consistently demonstrate and show them will help you to become centred around what you stand for and help others to understand who you really are.

So, how about making June the month you identify what you stand for and investing some time in identifying your values?  It will be time well spent and will, at a minimum, provide you with some food for thought in how you choose to live your life.

I will end with 2 powerful quotes, both from Malcolm X, the Civil Rights Activist, who absolutely knew his values and what he stood for (the second has been attributed to other sources too).

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I am for justice, no matter who it is for or against”
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything”

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