Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top 5 Keys to being true to your Values

I recently attended a Networking event for a Consulting group I belong to, and we were discussing the reason why we became consultants in the first place.  It was a great exercise for us to do as a group because it gave us a deeper appreciation that we're all essentially the same.
As one of the first to speak, I was the first to bring up the fact that as Consultants, we're more able to remain true to our values than if we were working for someone else.  When employed, it can be very difficult to say to your boss:  "I'm sorry, I won't do that.  It's against my values."  Most would agree that it's a pretty sure-fire way of getting on the boss' bad side.  

So, what do you do?  You have to work; you don't have the calling to be self-employed.  (And believe me; it's not for the faint at heart!!!)  How do you remain true to your values?

First, Lets look at the top five keys to being true to your values:
Image:  Courtesy iStock

1.  What ARE your values?
Before saying that you can be true to your values you have to take the time to identify them.  Take some time for yourself, and write them down.  What is important to you might not be what’s important for others, so focus on yourself.  If necessary, hire a life-coach or another professional expert to help you identify them.

2   Why are they your values?
Do you sincerely feel strongly about them?  Or are they simply the values you were raised with?  Many of us were raised in a different faith than we practice today, and we still carry around with us our upbringing.  Do you list a value simply because your parents value it?  Or your Church?  Or your spouse?  These are hard questions to ask.  But the answers and the clarity they provide go a long way.

3.  What are you prepared to give up for your values?
Would you be willing to break a friendship?  Quit a job?  Confront a colleague, a boss?  What about your faith, are you ready to re-evaluate what you’ve been saying you believe?  When we define our values, in a sincere and honest manner, many people find themselves perplexed by the fact that they need to re-assess many aspects of their lives.  Whether it means making changes in your social activities, or being more honest with yourself regarding your beliefs and faith, being true to your values will, without a doubt change you.  But set aside the fear of change, it is always a change for the better.

4.  What allies do you have around you that share your values?
Look around?  Are you fortunate enough that you have people around with the same values as you do?  Does your spouse share them?  What about co-workers?  Family members?  The more you surround yourself with those who share your values, the less likely you will be forced to make unpleasant choices.  There is definitely strength in numbers. 

5.  How do you communicate your values to those around you?
We have all been exposed to extremists of all sorts.  Think about how it felt to have someone tell you that what you believed was wrong and that they knew better.  Not a pleasant time, was it?  What about when you see the results of Fundamentalism in the news?  Excess in ALL its forms is unhealthy.  As a Christian, I believe in the Word.  But I don’t beat people in the head with my Bible.  It’s important to make an effort to dialogue openly with the people around you.  Be open to different ideas and opinions and share yours in a positive manner.  Don’t close your mind.  You’ll only find darkness.

Have you taken the time to do this exercise?  What did it bring you, how has it affected you? 

Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.  I’d love to know what your opinions are!

Until next time! 

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