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The Blog

Leadership & Living Your Values

We’ve all been told about the importance of knowing our values. When we know our values we can live in alignment with who we are. When we know our values, we can choose what matters to us both as individuals and collectively. To paraphrase the words of Roy Disney, knowing our values helps us to make sound decisions.

Values-work is often at the heart of my work with leaders. Whatever challenge my clients bring forward, somehow we work our way to the question of what value is being honoured or not, what values are being lived out or not, what values are being named, or  not.

You see, knowing and understanding your values is a critical piece to you being able to DO YOU. It’s at the heart of authenticity. It’s the essence of what makes you thrive.

That being said, identifying values isn’t always easy.

Folks grapple with naming those core ideals to which they subscribe. It’s often hard for people to name what matters to them – because there’s what they feel matters, and then there’s what the world is telling them matters – and the two don’t always match up.

So, I want to offer you a starting point to assist in the naming of your values. As a colleague of mine once said, “show me your bank statements and your calendar, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

That stops you in your tracks, doesn’t it?

What I know for sure is that – theoretically at any rate – we invest our resources on the things that matter to us. We spend our money on what matters to us. We spend our time doing the things and being with the people that matter to us. We spend our energy on what matters to us.

Before I go any further, let me invite you to take a look at your calendar, or your bank statements, or both. And notice where your resources are being spent. As you pay attention, what comes up? How do you feel? Do things feel aligned? Is there a relative feeling of “truth” – something along the lines of “yup, that matters to me”?

If not, what needs to be tweaked? Because here’s what I know: if you’re spending your time, energy, and money on things that DON’T matter to you – for whatever reason – you aren’t living your values. And it’s taking a toll.

As a leader, you have a responsibility to live and lead in alignment with your values. Doing so can be challenging – and it’s absolutely necessary. When you lead in alignment with your values you show up authentically, you attract your tribe, you make decisions with ease. And when all of these happen, you set an example for those who follow your lead to live from their values as well; which leads to more authenticity, more sound decisions, and even more grounded leadership.

Bottom-line: leading from your values is essential to the leadership process. If you don’t know your values – if you can’t name for yourself and those around you what you hold as pivotal tenets in your life – you can’t lead as effectively as you otherwise could. So take the time to discover your values. Know your values; live and lead from there.

Tracy Harvie