[March 28, 2012, I wrote… ] To take care of those we care about. That’s what we want. I know this to my core. Yet, growing up (my twenties and younger), it’s as if no one I knew talked about this. All I heard was Left v. Right. Conservative v. Progressive. Democrat v. Republican. No one, except college professors, talked about how the terms can be interchangeable and that there are no longer hard and fast definitions. We went to school. We went to work. We did our homework, our jobs, we played our sports, and we talked about who we had a crush on our silly jokes. A few friends and I were concerned with the environment and curious about government, but although we might have learned the rote mechanics — we didn’t talk about what we believed. We didn’t talk about our core values.
[Today] Six years later, I have defined and redefined my values with the help of a local business consultant, Michelle Gay. When I wrote this post, I was noticing that our labels don’t work and our society is shifting, sometimes uncomfortably. Something I have noticed for a long time now is that we need to come together and retell our stories. We need to rehash what is important to us, and what we hope for. Assessing our values, together, is one way of doing that.
Michelle argues that before you bring your values to your business or to a group, you should get in touch with who you are first. She has started opening up her values exercise to the masses, with the first such workshop held at the beginning of June. I have now taken a look at my values three times with Michelle. Watching her evolution of teaching this workshop is remarkable. It started as a sit-down, reflect activity – which I found very beneficial. Michelle likes kinetic moving, though, and she had to move it up to the wall, so she did. In a few hours, with guided steps, participants dig deep in their values, writing, pasting, and tearing down. Then, we defined what those words meant. I often write “love” or “heart-centered”, and each time I carve away at the definition a little more – so even my own two definitions aren’t alike!
Michelle argues we must define these words we use so we can have a better chance at understanding where people come from. The exercise does not stop at defining the terms, however. Next, she pushes us to consider how we lead with these values, writing down three different ways for each defined value. We finish with a power statement. (See one of my power poses above.)