It’s a term we often hear used but it can be hard to get to grips with and understand what it means in our daily lives. In the news we hear stories of businesses and individuals who are espousing one set of values and then behaving in very different ways in practice. The results can be devastating for all, including the planet.
When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life can feel positive (if not always easy) – you’re content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things might feel… not quite right. This can create a progressive sense of unease.
Having the opportunity to make a conscious effort to identify your values can be an important opening for possibilities and new ways of thinking leading to different responses and actions.
When values are applied in practice they determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
World Values Day is today, October 20. It is an opportunity for us to think about our most deeply held values and to act on them. If we are aware of our values and put them into action each and every day, we can change our lives and change the world we live in.
How Values Help You
We live and make choice through the values we hold whether you recognise them or not. Life can be more fulfilling, and maybe less at odds, when you acknowledge your values – and when you make plans and decisions that respect them.
If you value security, but your work is full of uncertainty and unpredictability, will you feel internal stress and conflict? And if you don’t value competition, and you work in a highly competitive environment, are you likely to be satisfied with your job?
In these types of situations, understanding your values can really help. When you know your own values, you can use them to make decisions about how to live your life, and you can answer questions like these:
• What choices can I now pursue?
• How can I welcome this opportunity?
• Should I start my own business?
• Shall I compromise, or be firm with my position?
• Shall I follow tradition, or travel down a new path?
So taking the time to understand the real priorities in your life could help to determine a more positive direction. See the World Values Day website for information on events and activities taking place around the world as well as many useful tools and resources that can help in exploring your own values.
Values are the guiding principles to all that we do – our choices and our actions. They are like holding a compass that guides our direction and helps us to redirect when we take the wrong turn. It’s the same for our families, for our communities, for the world. The invitation is to move out of your comfort zone and re-discover what really matters to you through understanding your values and giving voice to them.
Find out more
Here at Oasis we offer Values in Practice, an in-house programme for organisations wanting to become more aware of their values, articulate them, and develop the skills and understanding to work with conflict between individual and organisational values, particularly around decision making. Get in touch to find out more.