I value reflection over reaction.
I value intention over attention.
I value insight over information.
I value discomfort over comfort.
I value action over perfection.
I value output over input.
I value silence over noise.
I value activity over clarity.
I value moving over sitting.
I value quality over quantity.
I value listening over talking.
I value saving over spending.
I value curiosity over certainty.
I value questions over answers.
I value courage over confidence.
I value simplicity over complexity.
I value creativity over productivity.
I value connection over promotion.
I value big dreams over daydreams.
I value excellence over significance.
I value tiny steps over massive action.
I value contribution over achievement.
I value impossible goals over stretch goals.
What do you value?
One of the most important skills of a leader is self-awareness.
You’re a powerful leader when you know what you value.
- YOUR DECISIONS AND ACTIONS ARE INFORMED BY YOUR VALUES
When your values are unconscious—you’ve never spent any time reflecting on them—your decisions and actions are unconscious, too.
Want to quit your job but you haven’t? Maybe you value security over freedom.
Want to write a book but you haven’t? Maybe you value perfection over contribution.
Want to be in a relationship but it’s hard and you want to leave? Maybe you value freedom over commitment.
There’s nothing wrong with – for example – not starting the book you say you want to write but you get your power back when you can see which values you are prioritizing.
And then you get to make new choices.
My values above aren’t an ideal for anyone but me. But knowing them is empowering. For me.
- YOUR VALUES WILL CHANGE OVER TIME
What you value when you’re 22 differs when you’re 42.
What you value when you’re single differs when you’re married and differs again when you’re a parent.
What you value when you’re a freelancer differs when you’re running a company.
My values above aren’t what I valued last year. And they may well be different next year. But knowing what I value, in this moment, helps me to take empowered action and make empowered decisions.
- YOUR VALUES ARE HIERARCHICAL—THEY ARE IN AN ORDER
Your values are in unconscious order and this order can change from year to year, month to month, and even moment to moment.
I have a high value on integrity (my actions match my words). And I have a high value on commitment (I do what I say I’m going to do). So I do whatever it takes to be on time and fully present for a coaching session with my clients.
But when my son was only a few years old, I got a call from his pre-school that he was sick. I immediately called my clients to let them know I was canceling their session.
I discovered at that moment that I had a higher value on family than I did on integrity and commitment.
In the middle of writing this article, my wife came in and gave me a huge hug.
Even just a couple of years ago, I’d have been irritated by her interrupting me.
But now I know to put affection over concentration (at least some of the time!) and I stopped writing to enjoy the hug.
- IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR VALUES, YOUR VALUES ARE RUNNING YOU
It’s important to take time out to reflect on what you value, at least once a year.
What do YOU value?
Oh, and if you spotted any inconsistencies in my values list above, I’m ok with that. You see, I value paradox over consistency.