As we start off the year many use this time for reflection and setting our intention for what is ahead. I am not a New Year’s Resolution kinda gal. I have the usual eat less, work out more, yada yada yada. I am more of an ‘all year round trying to reflect and self-improve’ kinda gal. One might say overly reflective and not living enough in the present. And because I have this monkey on my back named anxiety the ‘pulse of the emotional brain at work’ is ever present. So what do I do? I find myself constantly grounding to my core values. It is especially important for me if I am feeling unsettled, anxious, or less hopeful, to take a breathe and remember what I value. My core values are Kindness, Connection, and Integrity.
When I think about my values, kindness always comes to me first. I consider kindness as being friendly and considerate of others. Although it is one of my core values it doesn’t mean I am always kind. I am an imperfect human. But what it does mean is I try. I try to “do no harm”. I want to have interactions with people where they feel supported, listened to, can bring their honest self to our conversations. I want to foster an environment where I am calm, authentic, and am open to what people say. I don’t need to be the smartest in the room, but I do want to be a person who others feel they can share and connect with in a manner that makes them feel uplifted and positive.
I live with a six-year-old who is not very kind… she hasn’t found the value in it. It is soooo hard for me to observe. Although I believe I am modeling this behavior, she certainly has other influences. We discuss our feelings, the importance for me to be kind, the consequences for unkind behavior, but to no avail I still have a roommate whose behavior does not align with my strongest value. EEKS! What is one to do? Live with the dissonance? Get a divorce? Well, I can’t divorce my child… at least not yet. So, with my daughter I can’t do much except continue on my path of parenting someone I would want to hang out with. But what do we do when our values do not align to those we work closest with? The first step is being clear about what our values are. Do you know what your values are? Have you shared them with those around you? Do you know what the values of your co-workers are? Once you have that conversation, you can start down the path of bridging the gap, recognizing the compliments each brings to the team, the pros and cons of those values in different situations. Having a diverse group is where the best teams are made. This includes the diversity of what is important to us. We are looking at the topic/issue/opportunity through different lenses.
I invite you to take a few moments to sit quietly and complete your own value exercise. (If you need help let me know.) This becomes your ‘North Star’ for what your intention is as you move through life. It has helped guide me during times where difficult decisions need to be made. What decision, A or B, is going to be aligned with my values. What do I need more from in this situation? When our values are not aligned with how we are approaching life dissonance is created. For more on cognitive dissonance. I am fortunate that I have been able to make decisions and put my values first. I recognize that is not always the case. But being aware of the dissonance can help alleviate the pressure or feeling unsettled. Know thyself; one key component to leading an emotionally intelligent life.
“It’s not hard to make decisions in life when you know what your values are.” ~Roy Disney
PS. I am pleased to report that since I drafted this, I have seen a dramatic shift in my daughter. I guess maybe my husband and my perseverance to parent a child we want to release into this world is starting to pay off. She is becoming more kind, thoughtful, gracious, and aware of how her actions impact others. I’m sure we are not out of the woods, but progress to start 2021.