Freedom and Compassion - these two words are the most important words in the world to me. They are what I use to guide my decisions, to help me reflect on what's going on in my life and to help me understand when something difficult is happening. These are my values.
Recently, I was struggling with someone very close to me. I was being extremely judgmental and when around them, not warm at all. For a while now, I've been asking myself "How am I going to continue having this person in my life when I can't stop feeling this way every time I talk to them or see them?"
Hello, Values! Nice to see you. It always comes back to values.
How I define my values are: Freedom: Moving through the world as I need to with a quiet confidence. Compassion: Accepting my wholeness as is and not what I think I should be or what others think I should be. A big part of compassion is the belief that myself and other are doing the best that we can in the crazy, ever changing, complex world.
This also means I need to extend this to everyone else in my life. Was I allowing this person to move through the world as they needed? No. Was I accepting this person as whole? No, in fact, I started seeing them as flawed. Did I think they were doing the best they can? That's a big hell no. Why? Because I placed expectations on this person based off of what I thought they should be doing and how they should be handling certain situations. Some of my biggest indicators that I've stepped away from my values: judgement and expectations.
On top of Freedom and Compassion, a strategy I try to l live by is boundaries over expectations (that's a post for another day). I was out of integrity all over the place. Guess what? It happens. Living a life by values doesn't mean it happens 100% of the time. It means keeping them top of mind and if you happen to slip up, course correcting as soon as you notice. It also means choosing to live your values even when it's hard, especially when it's hard.
Knowing and understanding my values has been one of the greatest gifts I've given myself. As a coach, my favorite thing to do is help others find their values. It amazes me how uncommon it is to work with someone (in a coaching capacity) that knows what their values are or if they have an idea of what they are, it's usually very surface level.
Aside from coaching, I teach several values workshops. Normally, I'll open the workshop asking "Show of hands, who here has done work around values or know what your values are?" In a room of 25 people, on average 2-3 people will raise their hands. So, my questions to you are:
What are your values?
What are your go-to behaviors that put you outside your values?
If you don't know the answers to these questions, I challenge you to take time and space to gift yourself with this priceless knowledge.