I had a week that spanned both sides of the continuum between effortlessness and excruciating difficulty. The easy part was my book review meeting last Friday with my advisory group. During the prior month as I wrote the chapter on Developing Authentic Trust, I felt like there was a flow and ease about how the content came together and placed itself on each page. During the review meeting, I realized how blessed I am to have such wise trusted advisors and I felt so thankful that they are willing to give me such brilliant and honest feedback. These dear friends and colleagues emulate the relationships that I cherish in my work. The opportunity to practice creativity, open-mindedness, honesty, and connection is precious to me. It struck me that as this book takes form, I am weaving together my values into a vibrant tapestry of everything that matters most to me.
But there are other moments that are not so easy and that I don’t enjoy in quite the same way. I had an experience this past week that was extremely hard. A situation happened, I won’t bore you with the details, but I made some assumptions and took action. The outcome was not what I expected, even though I had thoughtfully deliberated and felt 100% confident that I had landed on the best approach.
At first I made up a story in my head about my own shortcomings, because as I told a friend of mine today “when something goes wrong it must be my fault.” As I gained objectivity, I begin to consider that when we are in alignment with our values it’s easy, and when we are not it’s hard. Was this difficulty an indication that my actions were not aligned with my values? Why was I feeling so horrible and unfulfilled at the consequences of my actions? Where did my internal GPS lead me astray?
If you haven’t noticed, I will point out that this line of thinking was again another version of “my fault” and eventually I saw the slippery creature disguising itself as intellectual confusion that was messing with my perception. I took a hard look in the mirror and I knew my conscious was clear and that beyond a shadow of doubt, my intentions were good. As I discarded the idea that my decision was not aligned with my values, I began to wonder about something I learned from the infamous Henry and Karen Kimsey-House in the co-active leadership program:
- full permission to act
- responsibility for impact
- and, stay unattached to the outcome…because who knows what is good and what is bad
Living your values, being in integrity, owning your part, letting go of control, being passionate about your stake…these things can be hard.
Fulfillment happens when you are fully present with someone who is struggling with addiction or mental illness because you value honesty, vulnerability, and connection. Living my values means letting my heart get broken.
Fulfillment happens when you risk a friendship because you believe in authenticity. Living my values means dancing in the fire, and knowing I might get burned.
Fulfillment happens when you just finished chapter 5 of your book and you’re sharing your concepts and ideas with people you respect, and they are cheering you on. Living my values means feeling the joy of stimulating connected conversations with others.
Being aligned with values is everything. It is what makes us more of who we are. It is easy and it is hard. And it is vital. I give thanks today that I know what is important to me. I give thanks for being able to live my values when it is easy and when it is hard. I give thanks for my values.
If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.