Knowing who we are and what we stand for in life requires each of us to find and use our VOICE. And that first step in finding our VOICE is to recognize our VALUES. That is the V in VOICE.
No matter all of the leadership roles we play, identifying what really matters to us is critical if we want to live a life of true alignment. Not understanding or knowing what our core leadership values are, can be like a ship without a rudder…listless and just floating along…bumping into rocks, needing a tug or a push, and certainly lacking purpose and direction. Have you ever felt like that?
In our daily life, whether we know it or not, we are constantly in situations where how we react, how we feel, how we engage with others are all determined by our core values.
Maybe it is somebody who is stating their opinion that we agree or disagree with. Maybe it is somebody who is doing something in front of us that we agree or disagree with. Or maybe it is somebody who is asking us to do something that we agree to do…or perhaps not want to do (but we do it anyway). Any of these scenarios call upon our values, our belief system, to determine how we react and feel.
So how can you tell if you are living a life aligned to your values?
Have you ever felt conflicted about doing something? Or wanting to speak up because you don’t agree? Or feeling tired and drained after a certain experience or perhaps after engaging with a certain person? Or getting a feeling deep down inside that you know something is wrong? Or even feeling regretful about something you said or did?
This list can go on and on…but these can all be signs that we are running up against our values. That something is out of alignment.
Those of us that work in an office setting can be surrounded by stated values all of the time, these organizational values tell us how we are supposed to act or think. These values are sometimes on framed posters around the office or we carry them on a laminated card. Have you ever worked in an environment where the values of the organization are not aligned to your set of core values? How does that make you feel? Each day thousands of people go to work at a place that they do no trust or respect…not the best place to do your best work I would think. Have you ever worked at a company like that?
Our values are our inner GPS, our core belief system that guides our decisions and behaviors. Most of the decisions we make on a daily basis derive from our values, whether we are aware of it or not. Think of the different roles we may play in life. As a parent, as a student, as a leader, as a partner…each of those roles has a set of values that determine how we act out those roles in life.
Push yourself to remain genuine to who you are and what you represent…it’s not that hard. It is much harder to maintain a facade and not be true to your values and your purpose.
Living a life that is aligned to your values can mean living a life with purpose and commitment. It doesn’t mean that everything will work out splendidly all the time or that you won’t have obstacles in the way or challenges to deal with. But if you are aware of your core values and live your life true to them, you will be much better prepared with the confidence and the muscle to get through and thrive from any challenge life throws at you.
Finding your VOICE as a leader means discovering your core VALUES; creating a compelling vision to get the OUTCOMES you want; building relationships with INFLUENCE and credibility; making decisions that use your COURAGE to stand alone; and communicating your overall EXPRESSION for lasting impact.
Life is too short not to use your VOICE. What are you waiting for?
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