“There are some things that money can’t buy, like manners, morals and integrity” – Unknown
So I learnt something new this week. I learnt that not everyone expresses or defines values the same way. Given how fundamental values are to the choices we make in our lives, and the people we are being, that led me to question how important it is that we all understand values the same way?
Last week I was privileged to be invited onto a radio show directed at entrepreneurs (or people aspiring to become one). I’ve never been on radio before, so being interviewed was a bit of a personal miletsone in that respect. Frankly, I hadn’t had a great deal of time to think about or prepare anything, so it was also destined to be an exercise in ad-libbing.
As I got poised in front of the microphone, the rather cheeky radio presenter lobbed the first question at me:
“So Anna, be honest, what’s the one thing you would do if no one else was watching?”
I was like, “What? [Is he frickin’ kidding me?] That’s a bit of a mean first question!” And I sat there umming and aahing for the next 15-20 seconds trying to rack my brain for an answer. I got desperate trying to trawl my memory banks for attractive celebrities that I might want to steal a closed door moment with, but honestly I couldn’t think of one. At the time, I wasn’t sure if that was more of a reflection of the quality of current celebrities or my lack of awareness around who or what is “hip” right now!!
The host sat there grinning at me cheekily saying, “Come on Anna, there must be something, be honest!” and I gave some hesitant, mumbly (and not very radio entertaining answer I might add) of “I’m sure there’s probably a celebrity that I’d like a closed door moment with, but I’m afraid I can’t think who right now.”
We swiftly moved on to much more engaging topics on the show (thankfully!), but I couldn’t help wondering why on earth he’d asked me THAT particular question first?
Then, a few days later on Twitter I got a message from the presenter pointing me to an article he’d written for Entrepreneur Magazine (Middle East) where he defined integrity as “What you do when nobody else is watching”.
Now in case you haven’t been reading this recent series on values, integrity happens to be one of my top 3 values. No wonder I couldn’t think of anything to say in response to his question! I got confused because I define integrity differently to my radio presenter friend. To me, integrity is all about aligning thoughts, words and actions. But, however you define it, you will struggle to prize integrity and still hide things or lie to people – it creates an extremely uncomfortable internal conflict!
This particular experience highlighted to me that whilst we may not use the same words to articulate our values, they are powerful and visceral enough that we can still share an unspoken sense for what they mean to us.
So now you’ve identified your values, what next? How do you start living by them? Here’s a little exercise I’d invite you to try:
A few weeks ago I invited you to write down the 5-10 most important values in your life. Now take a look below and answer each of the questions. Once you’ve answered them, check back against your list of your 5-10 most important values and see if there are any you would want to change:
- How would you describe the attributes that you like most about yourself?
- What do other people admire most about you?
- What makes you unique and stand out from others?
- What makes you feel most passionate, satisfied and fulfulled?
From your list circle the 5 most important words you’ve written and then convert that to a noun e.g. loving turns into love, passionate turns into passion.
Then take these nouns and turn them into I AM statements….e.g. “I am love” or “I am passion” – go ahead and create statements for all five.
Now put these I AM statements in order of priority for you.
You can use this exercise as a benchmark to see how closely connected you are in any given moment to your values. After a while you’ll get very good at quickly making decisions based on your list and you’ll choose things that are more meaningful, inspirational and representative of who you are
A final word on values. They truly are our guiding principles in life – it’s like being tuned into your personal radio dial. Keep tuning your personal radio each time you experience static between your head and your heart and between your heart and your actions.
In the meantime, if you’re interested to learn more about how you can learn more conscious education, or develop a career in self-mastery and personal development, join our free A-Z Roadmap to Becoming a Coach webinar at http://www.ipeccoaching.com//events-and-seminars.aspx or check out our Facebook page and Twitter (@Anna_Margolis).