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How to Be a More Effective Leader, Partner & Friend by Owning Your Values

If you’d rather listen to this content on the “From Good Girl to Grown Ass Woman” podcast, click the link below.

What are Values?

Values are the timeless qualities that you identify with at your core. Think of the root word: value. It’s what you value beyond circumstances. Timeless qualities like:

Connection. Harmony. Sensuality. Creativity. Security. Expression. Trust. Curiosity. Nature. Patience. Adventure. Generosity. 

The aspects that you identify with no matter what. You could change professions, move to another city, be in a different relationship: and your values would hold steady. It’s what you believe in. It’s what you hang your hat on.

Why to Connect with your Values

When we organize our lives and decisions and relationships from our values, everything feels easier. In alignment. While circumstances and disruptions occur because- Life – we’re in harmony with what we hold as important or even sacred. And that has our experience of life feel way smoother. This doesn’t mean that suddenly your life is going to be a walk in the park. In fact, sometimes being clear on our values and willing to act from them means we have to make some tough decisions or get uncomfortable. Even though the momentary experience of discomfort may be hard, having your values as a navigational tool makes the aligned choice crystal clear. For instance: if you know that Justice is one of your core values, and you notice someone you love speaking or behaving in a way that occurs like injustice- you may feel temporarily uncomfortable speaking up or intervening, yet the aligned choice to not ignore those behaviors is crystal clear. When we tap into our values, we tap into a superpower that Is like an internal navigation system. When we orient ourselves from that place, you are automatically on the right-for-you course.

When we live (choose, act, speak) in contradiction to our values, we feel it. How? Things are hard, Things feel “off” and maybe we’re not sure why. When we’ve not prioritized our values in how we go about our lives, we’re fighting against our own nature. Things feel hard. Misaligned. Out of place, though maybe you can’t quite put your finger on why. If that sounds like you, I invite you to take a look at your values, and where you’re honoring them and: where you’re not. 

The Difference Between Stated Values and Applied Values

We have stated values – what we say is important to us- and then we have how we actually live our lives. Sometimes they are the same; and sometimes, we have what we say is important to us, yet if we were to actually observe ourselves throughout a given day, what it would appear we value might be quite different. For instance, some of my stated values are connection, potency, and wonder. Yet there are days where my actions – how I go about my day – might reveal that my actual lived values would appear to be – Perfectionism. Procrastination. Avoiding things I don’t like. And The internet. When we find these discrepancies, we have the opportunity to take a look at how we might reconnect with our values, so that they’re not just something we’re all about on paper, but that our values actually become the foundation of our thoughts, words, and actions. 

This shows up in organizations as well. For my organizational leaders listening, you can probably recite your company’s defined and published values without blinking an eye. Yet how closely do the day to day operations match what the organization says its committed to? If you’re not sure, ask your boots on the ground folks. They know whether their experience and their clients and customers’ experience tracks with what’s espoused. 

The Bottom Line

My belief is that it’s not possible to be truly, deeply, authentically fulfilled when we are out of alignment with our personal values. And conversely, satisfying, meaningful experiences and impact is available in all areas of our lives- professional, relational, familial, when we get clear on what we value, and we live think, speak, act, and BE from that place.

Action Steps to Implement your Values into Your Life and Leadership

  1. Get clear on your values. For self-study, Brene Brown has a thorough list in her Dare to Lead work, and the Center for Non-Violent Communication has one as well. If you’d like support with this, I have a couple exercises I sometimes utilize with my executive coaching clients to help identify core values. Schedule a session, and let’s clarify your values.
  2. Brainstorm or journal: choose one of the values you’ve identified. What would it look like to integrate that value into your personal and professional life? If you’re an organizational leader, what would it look like for your company to truly integrate that value?
  3. What shifts in your environment, interactions, relationships, or other elements would result in you or your organization integrating that value? In other words, what does there need to be more of? And what does there need to be less of, for that value to be centered?
  4. What specific behaviors or actions can you implement, already, to create 5% more alignment with that value?

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How to Be a More Effective Leader, Partner & Friend by Owning Your Values

  1. […] a refresher from a previous article, values are those timeless qualities that you’re committed to beyond circumstance. Qualities […]

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