When the things you are doing and saying are showing values that you do not agree with, you fall into a state of cognitive dissonance. Your brain cannot make sense of what you are doing. You need to check yourself to make sure you are acting in accordance with your values because living any other way will usually end in tragedy! To do this, you need to identify your values and then evaluate the congruence of your life with those values.
So What Are Your Values?
If you are like me, you know what they are, but you may not have really thought on purpose about it. You use them every day in every decision you make, so take the time right now to complete the following exercise.
On a blank sheet of paper, in your journal, in your phone’s notes application, or in a fresh computer document, write your top 20 values. Our values change over time, but this exercise is about values in the life you are living TODAY. Focus on the present, and let your mind brainstorm freely. Use the list below if you need a place to start, but write 20 values now before you read any further.
Take Time to Come Up with 20
Once you have your top 20, put them in order form most important to least important. Remember, these values can and will change in priority as you go through life, but focus on today. Next, look at the top 10 only. It’s not that you don’t value the others; they just don’t rank as high as your top 10. Now here’s where we get to the good stuff: decide on your top five values. Record those top five values and review them daily. Write them on an index card and carry it with you; write them on a sticky note and attach it to your monitor; use an app to record yourself reading them and set the audio file as your alarm. Saying your top five values out load twice per day will remind you of the importance of this exercise, but how do you apply those values to your life?
The result of this exercise is that you should have a list of the top five values for YOUR life as of today. Practical Influence: 10 Positive Principles to help you increase your influence and build better relationships is a book I wrote to help you get better at influencing the world around you using Practical Principles. There are several exercises like this for you to practice! For further practice, you can repeat the exercise as you grow, but ask yourself the following questions each time you create a new list.
What is your action plan to make that happen?
If your values are not reflected in others’ perceptions of you, then you are living a life that is not congruent, and the results are usually tragic. You don’t have to change everything today, but if you do want to improve in some areas, you will need a realistic plan to change your behavior over the next thirty days. A big part of coaching is creating an action plan, so don’t hesitate to write me today if you’d like to start taking steps toward your growth. Values play a big part in our personal lives, but they can matter even more in the corporate world. For example, what do you do when you find you are dealing with someone whose moral compass isn’t similar to yours? I’ll share more on that another time because you’ve got plenty of thinking on purpose to do today!
Until next time,