How stuff gets real. On implementation

You have the goals and now you would like to see them come to life, because that was the whole point.

Point 1: Put it in your calendar. Take yourself and your plans seriously.

Set a regular time for when these steps need to happen and treat them like any other key appointment with somebody senior you can’t say no to (this is your life, remember…)

You are going to make some change in your life, and you will need to show to yourself you mean it, to develop that trust in the new thing you are looking to do. This helps you steady yourself. This might sound weird but it works.

Point 2: Make yourself accountable.

This means, rope somebody in. Your partner, your boss, your best friend.
A mentor, a community. People who mean well AND are going to say something or do something if you procrastinate forever or don’t change but just complain instead.

(if you don’t have any of these, consider broadening your circle to include that…)

That should help getting things started out there. Now, let’s keep momentum: 

Point 3: Integrity. 

That is a key thing. As you start living your values out loud, you will every now and then run up against a fence post. This is a test, this is how strong your values are, how serious you are about living them. And a good practice ground for key conversations that need having.

Point 4: Bouncing back 

Not everything might go perfectly to plan, things might go wrong, conversations might not be successful. There are times where you are going to get back up, have to dust off your knees and keep going. Some changes take time and some take several attempts to get it right. Document what you learn and let your values and the attractiveness of your goal (you wanted this for a reason, remember?) sustain you during that phase.

Check out the values worksheet here.
Or
go deeper and get the book.
Or
ping me about how coaching might help. 

Values and integrity: Supporting others

People speaking up about a hairy issue is absolutely crucial for your business, for communities and for society. Because you want to know what really really goes on, and because you want to have the kind of place where people feel comfortable to speak up when something is not going right. Speaking up can feel very scary, you feel very vulnerable and you won’t be able to take it back once it is out. Having people in your corner and having role models creates a supportive culture that makes this easier.

For leaders and really any decent human regardless of job title or position on an org chart, this is a strong invitation to show up. Stand for something. Think: If I didn’t tell people what my values are, would they be able to guess from working with me? And when critical situations or big public discussions happen that test your values, speak to your team. Don’t be the last one to take a stand. On that note, hiding also counts taking a stand (just a lot less dignified). If speaking up feels scary, practice by starting small and expanding your comfort zone from there. This might never get to the point of feeling comfortable – don’t let that be an excuse.

Also, in most cases, this might not be not about you. Try to picture what an event might mean for members of your team that might not be your demographic and show empathy or ask how they are and if they need anything. It’s OK if it comes out a bit clumsy if you don’t know how to best bring it up or need help with terminology, pronouns and the like. If your intention is genuine it still works. It’s these open communication lines and the willingness to then do something about what gets raised (or hinted at) that make you a successful ally. There is something about you showing vulnerability that is going to allow everyone else to step up and show theirs.

Your team will experience you as being real and helpful (because you are) and that and will make your team feel safe.  This also applies to you, you will start being in the loop what is actually going on. If you have strength, power, privilege, wisdom, connections or anything else useful to the cause, this is a good time to use it for something bigger. The amount of courage and relief this gives to somebody having a hard time is beyond what you might imagine. This can literally save lives.

Book on values is here. Second book is in the works that goes deeper into support as well.

(written October 2017, updated March 2021)

Values, integrity and support systems

On a fine day it’s all good with values and integrity. Or so it seems. Except, often, as the hashtag #metoo shows, you might have no idea if things are actually fine or not. Sooner or later, something will happen that will prompt you to speak out (and it might well be a long way after the fact). Speak out for yourself or for someone else, for the sake of your values, your integrity or human decency in general.

As humans that are still far more tribal than we think, the fear of being ostracized is massive for anyone about to properly rock the boat. Consequences are real. And when you are the one being hurt, you might feel you are in the worst possible position to speak out, at the precise moment you feel called to do so. You need a support system. That hand-picked tribe that will stick up for you when the going gets rough.

And let’s face it, in most people’s reality there might not always be knights in shining armor or whatever metaphor or savior archetype you fancy, and not everyone will be immediately grateful you spoke up. A dysfunctional system will fight back hard (it never obeyed the rules of decency you hold true to begin with, remember, that’s how you got to needing to speak up). So, when the proverbial fan-hitting-thing happens, you might have to do quite a bit of the saving yourself, and the better your support system is, the better you can stand up for yourself and be OK (eventually). Or at least not make this the next round of train-wreckery for yourself so you can get yourself to safety and start rebuilding elsewhere.

So, how does one find allies? You likely already have at least some. Friends, partners and family work are the first port of call for a lot of people but not everyone has that available as a resource that is actually helpful. Start before you need it. And be clear what would actually help you right now. Chances are people that aren’t in your situation will only have a dim understanding what actually helps.

Official resources (ombudspeople, HR, a lawyer, your professional association, a mentor, teacher, the police, your level-headed colleague, your manager) are great when they are available (and not entangled in the issue). Look for people with shared values who demonstrate integrity in other matters. It’s about what people do (not what they say). Often the loudest ones are conspicuously absent when stands need taking, and the quiet ones that barely know you are the ones who will help you the most.

It’s can feel hostile out there all alone. Don’t go it alone where you don’t have to.

Book on values is here. Second book is in the works that goes deeper into support as well.

(written October 2017, updated March 2021)

What have values ever done for us

Your values are one of the things that make you YOU, it’s the stuff you live by, whether you are conscious of it or not. They help you figure out what right and wrong or better or worse look and feel like. They are also among the drivers of happiness (when fulfilled and respected) and your own bespoke version of hell when they are not. All of us have them at least implicitly, and it helps to become a bit more conscious about them.

You are striving to reach a goal (several, probably). Is there a connection between your values and the goal you are working towards? It is infinitely powerful when that clicks. You want that to click. That’s where the magic comes in, where your goals and subsequently your life are starting to feel more and more like you.

They are the most powerful way of sense-checking where you are heading. If you choose option A, what does that do to your top 5 values? “Integrity” is one of mine, and is one of the key filters I run decisions through. If Integrity gets affected significantly, that is not a decision I want to be making as I am not likely to be happy actually living with the consequences. “Freedom” is another strong one, and I tend to be happier with decisions that increase my “elbow room” versus the ones that don’t. Whenever I found myself in gnarly, uncomfortable places, it was usually in violation of one of my core values. They are great indicators. Listen to them.

What is one of your core values? How is this driving what you are looking to achieve?

Check out the values worksheet here.
Or
go deeper and get the book.
Or
ping me about how coaching might help.