In my last blog we talked about what values are and how they are the deep internal motivators for us in making decisions and taking actions. The key to living an authentic life and being a conscious leader is to first clarify your own core values, then align your life and work to your core values, and then hold yourself responsible and accountable for your choices and results.
Let me offer an example. I have determined that for me to live a life of meaning, integrity, prosperity, joy and fulfillment the following core values are my beacons: Presence-My Connection to Awareness; Authenticity-Be Real, Open, Vulnerable; Vitality– Aliveness in Health, Wealth & Relationships; Service in Re-Awakening Others; Evolve – To Grow & Transcend. Over the years my process of learning and maturing has led these honed values to be the energy that wakes me up every day, every moment, and every encounter.
When I use my core values as the lenses and filters in which I look at situations, options, choices, decisions and outcomes, I find that I am overall much more effective, productive, impactful, happy and content with the things, people and realities in my life. If I feel stressed, off-balance, or other negative emotions, or if the outcomes I was intending don’t materialize, then I can come back to my values and hold them up in these situations to see where I went astray from them in some way. Typically, when I don’t get what I want, or I am feeling anger, frustration, cynicism, or some other negative emotion it’s because I am not in alignment with one or more of my core values. The challenge is to remain awake and aware of this gift and of the power of my values. When I do, I experience so much more of the positives life has to offer, and when I go unconscious or am reacting from some pre-conditioned way of thinking/feeling, I experience what I don’t want or desire. It’s always my choice, my responsibility, and I am fully accountable to myself. Self-awareness and self-assessment are all I need to live intentionally.
There are three key stages in order to live a values-based life, or to have a values-based organization:
Stage 1: Clarity on what is important – Determine your Core Values.
The most important thing in life is to decide what is most important. To truly live by your values, there can be only one boss – your values. Living by values is not another fad, it is a way of life. Realize that living by your values is a lifelong process, and decide to begin the journey now. First, clarify your own personal values. Then, if you are leading a team, group or organization take the collective core values of those present and begin from there to see what that group holds as most important, and distill from there your group core values that will drive decisions forward.
Stage 2: Aligning daily life to your values.
Look at how you can express your values in everyday living experiences.
At home: how are you interacting with your spouse/significant other, with your children and your family at-large? Ask yourself, “Am I fulfilling my true self, performing my roles, and loving my family from the values I hold most dear?”
At work: look at how you are showing up with your boss, with your coworkers, with your customers and suppliers. See how your relationships are going through the lenses of your values. Ask yourself, “Is this the right team, company, job, pay, and career that aligns to my values? What needs to change in order for me to be working at peak effectiveness?”
At play: look at how you are interacting with friends. See if your hobbies and interests are still engaging and aligning to you in the light of your core values. Ask yourself, “Is this what I truly want, where I am, who I’m with, and what we do?”
Stage 3: Personal Responsibility & Accountability.
Check in with yourself regularly to see if the results your achieving in life reflect your values. Be as objective as you can and evaluate results through the filters of your values. See what went in to making the choices you made, and see if your core values were present in the decision-making process. You always have a choice, and when you find you are misaligned in some aspect of life, you can choose differently, and reassess.
Align your values to your daily living. Define what your values mean to you. Engage the people, places, things, situations and opportunities in your life in accordance to your values. Use your values in all the big decisions in your life, from key relationships, to your work, your hobbies and your living spaces. Values are the ‘how’ we go about living our lives, so find your core values and live by them. Happiness, contentment, joy, meaning, fulfillment and prosperity are some of the key outcomes and benefits to living a values-based life!
To be truly successful, there must be congruency between Who you are and How you show up.